Missouri bill would allow guns in churches, bars, daycares and colleges

Missouri bill would allow guns in churches, bars, daycares and colleges
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Missouri lawmakers are pushing what critics call a “guns everywhere” bill that would allow concealed weapons inside colleges, churches, daycares and bars — even without a permit. 

Just days after students across the country marched for stricter gun control, the state House Rules Committee passed its bill to extend places where gun owners can take a weapon, the Kansas City Star reported Wednesday.

Democratic state Rep. Deb Lavender told the Star it would allow firearms “truly everywhere" with or without a concealed carry permit. 

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"We call it the guns everywhere bill — schools, churches, bars, college campuses," Lavender said in opposition to the bill.

It would also allow guns inside casinos, amusement parks, government meetings and hospitals. Permit holders would be allowed to carry guns within 25 feet of election polling places.

Private businesses would be allowed to opt out of the bill and prohibit guns on their property. 

However, the bill outlaws colleges and universities from establishing “gun-free zones.” Currently, Missouri colleges can choose to allow guns on campus but none have.

Republican state Rep. Jered Taylor claimed there was a correlation between gun policies and campus sexual assault, the Star reported.

"Not a single one allows [concealed carry] permit holders, and we've seen a dramatic increase in college campuses of sexual assault," Taylor said.

He said that if women were able to “defend themselves if they so desire,” it could bring that number down.

Paul Wagner, executive director of the state’s Council on Public Higher Education, shot down the claim that guns would make campuses safer.

"In terms of sexual assault and sexual violence, the instance of someone jumping out of a bush and attacking someone is not common," Wagner said, as a majority of assaults are perpetrated by someone the victim knows.

Other opponents to the bill said having more guns on college campuses and inside their local restaurants and bars were a dangerous combination.

"As a resident of a college town, the idea of alcohol and guns mixing is just a disaster to me," Kristin Bowen said, local leader for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

The bill could be brought up for debate on the House floor if the chamber’s Republican leadership gives the green light. They did not respond to the Star’s request for comment.