Missouri legislators have recently approved a set of gun control bills, including one that would invalidate federal gun control laws and another that would allow certain people to carry guns in schools. Now it’s up to Democratic Governor Jay Nixon to veto the bills or sign them into law.
Dixon recently told reporters that he refused to sign the latter bill, arguing, "Putting loaded weapons in classrooms is quite simply the wrong approach to a serious issue that demands careful analysis and thoughtful solutions." He also sent a letter to public school superintendents expressing his distaste for the bill.
Apparently, there is also a chance that Nixon may change his mind. The governor’s office released a statement that read, "As I do with all legislation that comes to my desk, I will give this bill a thorough and thoughtful review before making a final determination on what action to take. That review has not been completed and therefore no determination has been made."
Currently, Missouri law prohibits concealed firearms in schools unless it is specifically approved by a local school board or a school official. That’s already a much more relaxed stance on guns than what you’ll find in most other states, where guns in schools are banned outright.
The bill would allow school employees to become voluntary “protection officers.” In order to qualify, school employees would need to have a valid concealed carry weapons permit and they would need to undergo special training for the position.
Backers of the bill argue that putting guns in the hands of sanctioned school officials could prevent school shooting tragedies like the one at Sandy Hook. Opponents point out that putting guns around irresponsible, untrained children is a recipe for disaster, especially considering that students regularly steal from their teachers.
Of course, Nixon’s veto may only be a minor setback. If he vetoes the bill, Missouri legislators may vote to override the veto and upgrade the bill into a law without Nixon’s approval.