Local administrators share feelings on proposed bill to carry guns in school

Governor Jay Nixon vetoed a bill which would have allowed teachers and administrators to carry concealed weapons in schools. Now, that plan might be revised.

The bill was originally vetoed by Governor Nixon in July. However, when the Missouri General Assembly reconvenes September 10th for the Veto Session, Governor Nixon's veto may be overridden. The GOP is one house vote shy of the two-thirds majority needed to override the veto. Politicians in favor of the bill say that the decision has to be made with the safety of the students in mind.

"I've supported legislation where that provision has been in the bills, and I think we have to be careful," said State Representative Nate Walker, a Republican from Kirksville.

If passed, the bill would designate school teachers and officials as 'School Protection Officers'. However, some local administrators are hesitant.

"What kind of teacher training and or qualifications would you need to be able to carry a gun in class, because at this point in time, I'd be really skeptical on cutting my staff loose and being able to allow them to do something like that," said Dr. Damon Kizzire, Kirksville R-III Schools Superintendent.

Those 'School Protection Officers' would have to complete a 100 hour police training course in order to carry the gun.

"I'm not opposed to people packing guns because I think that's an important part of our society, but once they cross the threshold into schools, I think it's probably not the best idea," said Rick Roberts, Adair County R-I Schools Superintendent.

For both local administrators, the safety of students and teachers is their top priority. The bill would also lower the age to obtain a conceal-carry permit from 21 to 19 years of age. The bill would also allow people with concealed gun permits to openly carry firearms up to 16 inches long. They would be allowed to do so even in jurisdictions with ordinances against the open display of guns.