Last week Missouri lawmakers stood up for the Second Amendment and overrode Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of a bill that will allow school districts to arm teachers and administrators provided they successfully complete special gun-safety training programs.
Under the language of the bill, districts can select teachers or other employees to serve as “school protection officers,” giving them the option to carry a concealed firearm or pepper spray while working in the classroom or on school grounds.
However, the law which will take effect next month does not make it mandatory for schools to train employees to become school protection officers, as the sponsor of the bill state Sen. Will Kraus told Reuters.
“This is just an option for school districts, it’s not mandatory,” Sen. Kraus said Thursday.
The GOP-dominated legislature initially approved the bill, known as SB 656, with favorable majorities in both chambers: 111-28 in the House and 21-7 in the Senate, perhaps indicating that the override of Nixon’s veto was imminent.
The Democratic governor was unambiguous about his feelings on SB 656,
“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 his July veto statement.
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.