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The Daily Guide - Waynesville, MO
  • Missouri lawmakers fall short on gun nullification

  • Missouri's Legislature failed to advance highly publicized legislation that sought to nullify some federal gun laws as its session concluded Friday, but it did send the governor a measure, SB 656, that could allow specially trained teachers to carry concealed weapons in the classroom.
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  • Missouri's Legislature failed to advance highly publicized legislation that sought to nullify some federal gun laws as its session concluded Friday, but it did send the governor a measure, SB 656, that could allow specially trained teachers to carry concealed weapons in the classroom.
    Despite being a top priority that majority GOP leaders pledged would be one of the first bills passed this year, a dispute among Republicans ultimately derailed the attempt to void any federal law that "infringed on people's right to keep and bear arms."
    Supporters were divided until the closing hours of session over how aggressive the measure should be in punishing federal agents who enforced unspecified gun laws. House sponsor Rep. Doug Funderburk, R-St. Peters, said it was difficult to come to a compromise that protected gun rights while easing the concerns of law enforcement groups.
    "The problem is how to deal with a very fine line of language that isn't overprotection but still has elements to keep our community safe," he said.
    The House adopted the final compromise and sent it to the Senate with less than 30 minutes remaining in the session. Democratic senators were able to stall for a vote for the remaining time.
    The final proposal was a scaled-back version of earlier measures, including one last year that was vetoed by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon. It would have allowed Missourians to sue and collect civil damages from federal officers for enforcing some gun control laws. Previous plans could have subjected federal workers to prosecution, possible jail time and a lifetime ban on serving in state or local law enforcement. Republicans were able to agree on a separate gun rights bill Friday and voted to send the measure to the governor. It would allow school districts to designate teachers or administrators to undergo training and carry concealed weapons in buildings.
    Supporters said the school legislation would protect students from intruders. It would allow school districts to select teachers or administrators as "school protection officers." Republicans began considering the legislation after the deadly 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
    Rep. Rick Brattin, R-Harrisonville, said arming teachers needs to be considered in light of school shootings.
    "It is an unfortunate reality, but it is a reality," he said.
    The House voted 111-28 on Friday to send it to Nixon's desk, a day after the bill cleared the Senate with a 21-8 vote. Nixon vetoed legislation containing the school protection officer provision last year, but it was included as part of last year's nullification effort.
    After lawmakers adjourned, Nixon expressed some reservations and said he would review the bill.
    "School safety is important," he said. "I never believe guns in classrooms are a way to keep security and class order."
    Page 2 of 2 - That same measure would also lower the minimum age required to get a concealed weapons to 19 from 21 and allow concealed weapons holders to carry openly, even in municipalities that ban open carry.
    In addition, health care professionals could not be required to ask or document whether a patient owns or has access to a gun and public housing authorities could not ban tenants or their family members from possessing firearms in their residence or common areas.

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