In his veto message, the Democratic governor said that Senate Bill No. 656 flies in the face of what he believes is right.
“I have consistently opposed the arming of teachers as a means to keep schools safe. It is simply the wrong approach, and one that I do not support,” wrote Nixon.
In lieu of supporting armed teachers and administrators, know as “school protection officers” under the language of the legislation, Nixon said he backed putting “school resource officers” in schools.
“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,” stated Nixon.
Everytown for Gun Safety, the pro-gun control organization funded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, celebrated Nixon’s veto but warned their constituents that the fight is not over.
“As Missouri moms and dads who want to know our kids will be safe at school, we applaud Governor Nixon’s veto of this dangerous legislation — but we also know this fight isn’t over,” said Melissa Brooks of the Missouri chapter of Moms Demand Action in a press release.
To Brooks’ point, the GOP-dominated legislature approved SB 656 with favorable majorities in both chambers: 111-28 in the House and 21-7 in the Senate, perhaps indicating that an override of Nixon’s veto is imminent.
“We call on our legislators to reject this dangerous bill because it never should have passed in the first place,” said Brooks. “Missourians know that asking a teacher to become a sharpshooter won’t prevent another tragedy like Newtown, and we believe that parents have the right to know if there is going to be a gun in our kids’ classrooms.”
Meanwhile, the lawmakers who supported the bill are likely to rally during the September legislative session with an emphasis on getting a two-thirds vote in both chambers in support of SB 656, the threshold needed to override Nixon’s veto.
In addition to allowing school district’s to arm teacher, the bill lowered the minimum age required to get a concealed carry permit from 21 to 19 and allowed permit holders to carry openly regardless of town and city statutes prohibiting open carry. Moreover, the bill said that doctors could not be required to ask about a patient’s access to guns and public housing authorities could not discriminate against gun-owning tenants.