Lawmakers try again to carry concealed weapons on public transport | State News

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JEFFERSON CITY — Concealed firearms would be allowed on public transportation in Missouri in bills heard by the House General Laws Committee on Monday.

The hearing considered both HB 1462 and HB 1660, which are similar in content and reflect legislation filed in previous years. The respective sponsors, Rep. Adam Schnelting, R-St. Charles and Rep. Ron Hicks, R-Defiance, introduced the bills together.

The bills would authorize the concealed carry of firearms on state public transportation systems, as well as the transport of unloaded or non-functioning firearms on buses.

Schnelting and Hicks emphasized the importance of self-defense and the constitutional right to bear arms.

“Crime and violence do not discriminate,” Schnelting said. “We all have these situations where we come up against the need to have to defend ourselves.”

Witnesses and representatives entered into a heated debate and generally offered two opposing opinions. One camp argued that people frightened by crime on public transport should be able to defend themselves. The other argued that adding firearms would compromise security.

Rep. Richard Brown, D-Kansas City, has repeatedly expressed concerns about public safety and the implication that people riding the bus are criminals.

“There are no criminals on this bus,” Brown said. “These are elderly people, people with disabilities, and then there are children. That’s what I see on the bus when I take the bus.

In what became a point of contention during the hearing, the five witnesses who testified in support of the bill said they did not regularly use public transport. Of four opposition witnesses, two said they periodically use public transit.

“Do you find it kind of strange, that all these people who support this bill don’t live where they take the bus or don’t take the bus?” Brown asked a witness.

In their closing comments, Schnelting and Hicks emphasized that the issue was not a partisan one. They also argued that it was irrelevant to ask whether witnesses and representatives used public transportation.

“If we were to use this as a litmus test, then any of us who don’t own an AR-15 should never be able to vote on an AR-15 bill,” Schnelting said. “We make laws to protect the constitutional rights of our citizens.”

Objective of increased accountability of police officers of the bill

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