ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI — Missouri makes the news again with a wave of pro-gun legislation that aims to remove public university campuses as “gun free zones”. According to present legislation, those permitted to carry a concealed firearm may do so with the express consent of the governing body of that university. However, in practice, that has largely been ignored by those governing bodies. This upcoming legislative year, all that could change.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, several bills are in the works to enable everything from just faculty to faculty and students to just about anyone properly licensed to carry a concealed handgun to do so without prior express approval of university bodies.
Restrictions may still be a huge limitation to where an individual may carry a concealed handgun. Locations such as dormitories, laboratories, and administrative buildings may still be off limits even if some of these bills are passed.
According to Rep. Jered Taylor, R-Nixa, it’s about not restricting an individual’s law-abiding rights.
“We shouldn’t take someone’s rights away because they stepped across the street and onto a college campus,” Taylor said. “Overall, I think it’s about personal responsibility and personal safety.”
In his brief interview with the Post-Dispatch, he outlined that it’s not just about the second amendment. There are also real issues relating to sexual assault and violent crimes. But the second amendment, he admits, is a main driver in these proposed measures.
“I believe it’s important because we do have a right through the second amendment,” Taylor told the Post-Dispatch, explaining why he supports the bill.
Almost all thirteen university bodies that govern the individual public institutes of higher education in Missouri oppose any measure which would seek to circumvent their authority. A similar climate was present in Texas when they finally got campus carry onto university campuses last year.
The problem with the Missouri Board of Governors is that they are facing increased legal scrutiny from the Missouri Attorney General, perpetrated in part by some of their own faculty who don’t support having their basic rights infringed because they choose to work in a university setting.
Last year, a professor sued the University of Missouri over his rights being infringed. None other than the Missouri Attorney General’s office stepped up to back his case.
Because the law in Missouri does not support the infringement of the Second Amendment, curtailing concealed carry on campus is becoming a cost-ineffective practice.
Who knows what the 2017 legislative session will provide in terms of enabling concealed carriers to walk on campus? We’re hoping that Missouri will join Texas in allowing campus carry — and make a greater threat for all those who would seek to harm students, faculty members, and law-abiding citizens on those campuses.