Proposed Gun Bill Would Require Schools to Hold Public Meetings

By Jonathan Cooper |

Published 02/13 2014 04:55PM

Updated 02/13 2014 11:01PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) A proposed gun bill in Missouri would require school districts to hold public meetings about how school officers should be armed. It's part of a bigger bill that would nullify federal gun laws.

State bill 613 has passed the Missouri Senate and will be sent to the House.

Missouri Republicans developed the bill after President Obama called for increased background checks last year.

Here locally, many school districts already have armed officers on campus.

"We're here to be kind of a deterent to criminal activity," said Mike Hardin, Central High School's Resource Officer.

The St. Joseph School District first got school resource officers several years ago. Hardin said it's a growing trend nationally.

"It's all about finding a funding mechanism for different cities and different school districts," he said.

This is especially true for smaller school districts.

"It would be very expensive to be able to hire that many officers to cover the large amount of schools," Hardin said.

The bill would allow smaller districts like these to designate a teacher or administrator as a school protection officer and carry a weapon.

Just this year, the Buchanan County Sheriff's Department provided funding to equip all rural schools with resource officers.

"It's been a priority to get that done and we finally accomplished that this year," Buchanan County Sheriff Mike Strong said.

The provision is part of a bigger bill that would nullify certain federal gun laws. If this does pass, districts could also allow certain personnel to carry pepper spray. But under the new provisions, they would have to hold public meetings before implementing it.

"Communication is always a good thing," Hardin said.

The NRA spoke out against this law because of a separate provision in the bill. A similar bill was passed last year but was vetoed by Governor Jay Nixon. Missouri is just one of several states that have tried to nullify federal gun laws.

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