Yesterday, Governor Jay Nixon (D) vetoed a NRA supported pro-gun measure, Senate Bill 656. Sponsored by state Senator Will Kraus (R-8) and handled in the House by state Representative Kevin Elmer (R-139), SB 656 passed overwhelmingly in both legislative chambers. Unfortunately, Governor Jay Nixon felt the pro-gun provisions were not important or necessary and chose to veto this legislation rather than allow it to become law and increase school and public safety for law-abiding Missouri citizens.
What can you do now?
Let Governor Nixon know how disappointed you are that he vetoed SB 656, legislation that addresses multiple pro-gun reforms. You can also contact your state Senator and state Representative, and respectfully urge them to vote to override the governor’s veto in the veto-override session in September.
Governor Nixon issued the following statement:
“Arming teachers will not make our schools safer,” Governor Nixon said. “I have supported and will continue to support the use of duly authorized law enforcement officers employed as school resource officers, but I cannot condone putting firearms in the hands of educators who should be focused on teaching our kids.”
While Governor Nixon vetoed this legislation, he clearly forgot about laws of his own state that he defended as Attorney General. For the past ten years since the enactment of the Right to Carry statute in Missouri, those with a concealed carry permit are allowed to carry a firearm on school grounds with permission from the school district.
Senate Bill 656 would allow school districts to make a decision on whether or not to designate teachers and administrators as a school protection officer. In order to be designated, school personnel would be required to take Missouri’s Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certification to become a Missouri certified police officer. POST certification for teachers is a higher standard which requires every School Resource Officer to obtain the proper training regardless if they are a current law enforcement officer or not.
Again, these programs would not be mandatory. Each candidate to be designated as a school protection officer must undergo training, which is forty hours or more.
This bill also specifically states, “Any teacher or administrator of an elementary or school who seeks to be designated as a school protection officer shall request such designation in writing, and submit it to the superintendent of the school district which employs him or her as a teacher or administrator.” From here, a rigorous approval process would take place, which requires the school board to conduct a public hearing on whether or not the specific teacher or administrator should be designated as a school protection officer.
Allowing school personnel who have undergone POST training will add more security options for protecting our children - but this is not a new concept.
Last year, Kansas enacted House Bill 2052, legislation which included language that permits, but does not require, an employee who is licensed to carry a concealed handgun, to carry a concealed handgun in any school building. Additionally this week, Texas began to train their own teachers in the same manner as Missouri’s legislation would have allowed.
Senate Bill 656 also includes the following important pro-gun provisions:
- Allows the open carrying of firearms in all localities with a carry permit. Some localities currently have ordinances that ban open carrying of firearms, even by those with a valid carry permit.
- States that no law shall require health care professionals to inquire about a patient’s ownership or possession of firearms and prohibits the documentation of such information into a database.
- Reduces the age from 21 to 19 for those wishing to apply for a concealed carry permit.
- Allows someone to qualify for a concealed carry permit using a revolver or semi-automatic pistol, rather than having to qualify with each firearm.
- Requires one instructor for every forty people for the classroom portion of a firearms safety training course. Current law allows only forty people per classroom regardless of the number of instructors present.
- Specifies that no public housing authority shall prohibit a lessee or a member of the lessee’s immediate household or guest from personally possessing firearms within an individual residence, common areas, or from carrying or transporting firearms to and from such residence in a manner allowed by law.
Again, please call AND e-mail Governor Nixon and convey to him your disapproval of his veto on Senate Bill 656. Also, please contact your state Senator and state Representative TODAY and respectfully urge them to vote in favor of SB 656 and override Governor Nixon’s veto in the veto-override session in September.
Contact information for your state Senator can be found here.
Contact information for your state Representative can be found here.
Governor Jay Nixon: