A Missouri bill that would have allowed teachers and other school personnel to carry concealed weapons on school grounds has been vetoed by the state’s governor.
“Arming teachers will not make our schools safer,” Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, said in a statement after rejecting the bill. “I cannot condone putting firearms in the hands of educators who should be focused on teaching our kids.”
Under the law, schools would have been allowed to appoint “school protection officers” from the staff who could receive concealed-weapons training and then bring such weapons to school. Currently, 11 other states allow those with concealed carry permits to bring guns to K-12 schools in some capacity.
Teacher carry has flared up as an issue since the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. While gun control advocates have pushed for greater restrictions on firearms, gun rights supporters have hit back by saying the solution is more guns, not fewer. The National Rifle Association, America’s largest gun rights group, officially endorsed concealed carry by teachers as a protection against massacres in the wake of the shooting.
Nixon emphasized that while he opposed letting teachers carry, he still supported having armed, uniformed police officers on school grounds if schools desired them.
In addition to the school provisions, the vetoed law would have lowered the minimum age to receive a concealed carry permit from 21 to 19, and would have nullified all local laws banning open carry.
Though Missouri’s General Assembly is currently out of session, it will return to Jefferson City in September and could choose to override Nixon’s veto if two-thirds of both houses vote in favor. The House approved the bill with 111 out of 163 members voting in favor, two votes above the total needed to override the veto. The Senate, however, only passed the bill with 21 out of 34 votes, two short of the threshold. Three Republican senators abstained, however, meaning that clearing the required threshold is not impossible.
Nixon has clashed with his Republican-dominated legislature more than once on gun issues. Last year, he narrowly avoided an override (and possibly a major court battle) after vetoing a bill that sought to nullify federal gun control laws in the state.
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