Missouri – On Thursday, the Missouri House Committee on Elementary and Secondary Education, with a vote of 14-3, decided to move forward with a bill. This bill lets school administrators have more people carry guns in schools.
What’s new in this bill? Right now, only teachers or school heads can be named as school protection officers. But this bill says other staff members can also be chosen for this role.
These school protection officers can carry guns on school property, but they must have a special permit for concealed weapons.
State Rep. Kathy Steinhoff, a Democrat from Columbia, was in favor of this bill. She also shared her views on having guns in schools.
“I oppose guns in schools, so it was really hard for me to support this bill because on face value it looks like it’s against everything I believe in,” she said.
Steinhoff emphasized the need for careful selection when it comes to allowing guns in schools. She stated, “When a school board decides to let someone carry a gun in their schools, it’s crucial that they pick the right person for this responsibility.”
Steinhoff added, “I believe the success of public schools lies in making sure that every position is filled by somebody who’s highly qualified and highly trained. I don’t see teachers and administrators being the ones who can carry out that sort of job duty.”
Kristin Bowen, who volunteers with the Missouri chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, expressed disagreement with the committee’s choice to move the bill forward.
“We were disappointed, not surprised,” she said. “This is a bill that expands who can carry loaded guns in our K-12 schools in Missouri.”
Bowen made a strong point against any law that could lead to more guns in schools.
“We know, research shows, putting more guns in our schools puts kids in a position of being less safe, not more safe,” she said.
Steinhoff pointed out that even if this new bill is passed, it’s up to each school district to decide who can be a school protection officer.
“This is not mandating it,” Steinhoff said. “It’s making it so that a school board can choose to do that. I hope that no school board chooses to do that.”