Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Opponents Say Guns in the Missouri Capitol 'Unnecessary and Dangerous'

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Opponents Say Guns in the Missouri Capitol 'Unnecessary and Dangerous'

Article excerpt

JEFFERSON CITY - When Gov. Mike Parson's administration proposed a plan to allow visitors to carry guns in the Missouri Capitol, they asked for comments about the policy from the public.

The response was an outcry of opposition. Every one of the 50 comments that flowed in between mid-November and mid-December opposed the plan, saying firearms should not be allowed in the building, even if the owners have concealed carry permits.

"I will not allow my children to attend any field trips if this is allowed," said one respondent in a trove of emails and letters obtained by the Post-Dispatch.

"At the present time, visitors are not permitted to bring knives into the Capitol building. Balloons are not allowed either. What is the rationale for allowing firearms, the most deadly weapons of all, on the property?" wrote another.

It remained unclear Friday whether the unanimous opposition had the administration rethinking the policy, which was quietly announced in November.

"The Office of Administration is reviewing the public comments and is working to complete that review," agency spokeswoman Brittany Ruess said.

But, given the response from the public, the issue could become the subject of a hearing later this year by a panel of lawmakers charged with reviewing administrative rule changes affecting state government operations.

The dust-up over guns in the Capitol began two years ago when Parson's predecessor, Eric Greitens, temporarily barred most visitors and employees from bringing concealed firearms into the building.

Some lawmakers balked at the ban. Outgoing Rep. Nick Marshall, R-Platte County, for example, said the ban infringed on the rights and freedoms of visitors to the Capitol.

After the prohibition took effect, Marshall erected a sign on his office door in the Capitol offering to lend guns to people while they visit the building. …

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