A Restored Law from Veto Session Allows Designated Teachers to be Armed in Schools
Missouri lawmakers have wrapped a two- day session in which they’ve managed a record number of veto over-rides
One of the laws vetoed by Governor Jay Nixon but restored by the legislature will expand gun rights in the state.
It’ll allow specially trained and designated teachers to carry concealed weapons in schools.
A Joplin 5th grade teacher at Kelsey Norman focuses on story elements and while a new law could allow her to carry a weapon to school, the superintendent says the district has three professional school resource officers and gun policy here likely won’t change.
Dr. CJ Huff says, “I don’t think more guns in schools is the answer to situations like Sandy Hook and I think that potentially could raise the risk of an accidental discharge. ”
A school resource officers visits Kelsey Norman once a week and then makes random stops but isn’t on campus everyday. Something those in favor of teachers carrying say can be a concern.
Joplin High parent David Newell says, “Most people who commit these type of crimes do their background research. They know when they’re there, and when they’re not there. If the officers not there, they may be more willing to act.”
Newell, who’s son is a Joplin high freshman also works at the MSSU Criminal Justice Center. He says the key is the law’s requirement for POST level training to match police officers.
“This isn’t a Barney Fife bringing a gun to school. This is someone who’s been highly trained. With technology today they’re concealed holsters and you’re gun doesn’t just fall out of the holster anymore.”
Another parent says someone armed can bring comfort but has hesitations with that being teachers. Matt Harris has a freshman at Joplin High and says, “I would be more apt for trained officers to be on the staff than the staff actually carrying the firearms.”
Some rural districts like Jasper don’t have a school resource officer and aren’t close to local police. Jasper has two willing teachers and its board will discuss arming them.
Huff says it’s good the law offers local control.
“I think having that flexibility is important because there are times you need to have an armed law enforcement officer at your schools whether private or public school. Things happen when you have custody issues, and you have individuals who don’t belong on campus.”
And now at some districts that armed person could be a teacher.
A district would have to hold public hearings disclosing that it has armed teachers.
The new law also allows anyone with a concealed weapons permit to carry guns openly, even in cities or towns with bans against the open carrying of firearms.
The age to obtain a concealed weapons permit also will drop from 21 to 19.