Missouri Governor Vetoes Bill Allowing Teachers To Carry Concealed Weapons At School

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"Missouri Governor Vetoes Bill Allowing Teachers To Carry Concealed Weapons At School"

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon speaks at an news conference in 2013.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon speaks at an news conference in 2013.

CREDIT: AP Images

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed a bill Monday which would have allowed teachers and administrators to carry concealed weapons in schools.

The bill would have designated certain school officials as “school protection offers” who would have to complete a 100-hour police training in order to carry a gun. Additionally, the bill would lower the age requirement for concealed weapons from 21 to 19, allow gun owners to carry their weapons openly in the state (despite bans in certain cities), and require public housing authorities to allow their tenants to possess firearms. The bill passed the GOP-controlled legislature in May, but the veto came on the last day Nixon had to act on the legislation.

“Arming teachers will not make our schools safer,” Nixon said. “I have supported and will continue to support the use of duly authorized law enforcement officers employed as school resource officers, but I cannot condone putting firearms in the hands of educators who should be focused on teaching our kids.”

This isn’t the first time the state’s legislature has tried to pass lax gun laws which would place armed teachers in schools. Last year, both chambers passed a piece of legislation which not only would have allowed teachers to carry concealed weapons, but it also would have nullified several federal gun-control laws in place since the Roosevelt administration, allowed weapons purchased during gun buyback programs to be recycled, and fined journalists attempting to report on gun owners. Nixon vetoed this legislation as well, and an attempt to override his decision fell through after a leading law enforcement group and the state’s attorney general came out against it.

Both chambers have the chance to override Nixon’s latest veto when they reconvene in September. With Senate Republicans holding 23 of the 34 seats and House Republicans holding 108 of 163, the GOP is just one House vote shy of the two-thirds majority needed to implement the law. When the bill passed the House in May, it did so with 111 votes, two more than needed to override the decision.

Securing a lone Democratic vote isn’t out of the bill’s supporters’ reach — in May, the Republican supermajority managed to override Nixon’s veto of a $620 billion tax cut when Rep. Keith English voted against his party. In this year alone, Nixon has vetoed 33 bills passed by the GOP-controlled legislature, the most during his career as governor, including a bill that would have imposed a 72-hour waiting period on women seeking abortions in the state.

Shannon Greenwood is an intern at ThinkProgress.

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