Missouri House passes bill permitting concealed carry weapons on mass transit

Published: Mar. 10, 2022 at 10:41 PM CST
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MISSOURI (KMOV) -- By a vote of 101 to 40, the Missouri House of Representatives passed a bill that would allow concealed carry permit owners to carry a weapon on mass transit. House Bill 1462 was sponsored by Republican St. Charles representative Adam Schnelting.

He told News 4 that Missourians have a right to defend themselves.

In an email, he wrote, " Gun-free zones attract violent criminals because they know that law-abiding citizens won’t be carrying there. The risk assessment for them is low. They pick places where firearms are prohibited like movie theaters, schools, and churches. This is why this measure is so important.”

Several mass transit riders at the Delmar Loop Station expressed concern about allowing guns in confined spaces like trains and buses where bystanders would be unable to run away if a shooting started.

“It’s kind of dangerous if you ask me,” said Rachelle Farmer.

“I think it’s a bad idea,” said Nellie Moore.

Taulby Roach, the president, and C.E.O. of Bi-State Development, which operates the local mass transit system, is opposed to the legislation.

“Conceal carry-on transit doesn’t work very well. I mean just like other venues like an airplane, for instance, the Cardinals stadium or something like that,” he said.

Because Bi-State Development operates under a federal compact, Roach said, before concealed weapons could be allowed on the St. Louis region’s mass transit, Illinois would have to pass the same law and then Congress would have to pass the law and have it signed by the president. He said that is unlikely.

Besides allowing concealed carry permit holders to carry weapons on mass transit, House Bill 1462 would also allow concealed weapons in churches. In his email, Schnelting said he had a great amount of support from the religious community.

And he wrote, “Any house of worship that does not wish to permit firearms has every right under the bill to prohibit them.”

Reverend Kevin Anthony, of Pilgrim Congregational United Church of Christ, said he is opposed to the legislation and worries it would scare away many from attending church services.

“We need to take seriously other ways of allowing people to come to worship and feel as if they are in safe spaces,” he said.

The bill would also lower the minimum age for a permit from 19 to 18. It now goes to the Senate. A similar bill proposed by Schnelting in 2021 failed to gain passage.