(TNS) - Missouri lawmakers are looking at a bill that would authorize college faculty members to carry a gun on campus.
Republican Rep. Dean Dohrman introduced a bill Wednesday to the House Higher Education Committee that would designate full-time faculty as “Campus Protection Officers,” whom can carry concealed weapons.
Those in support believe it will improve college campus safety whereas those who oppose the bill argue it will not.
“I understand that a lot of people feel unsafe in public settings,” said Missouri Democratic Rep. Greg Razer. “My bigger question is ‘What does it mean as a society that we are at a point where we are having to hear a bill in the general assembly that would allow universities to have a designated shooter in their classrooms?’”
Supporters of the bill argue that a designated shooter could help stop a possible shooting.
According to the bill, the designated faculty members would be required to have a concealed carry permit and would train with the Department of Public Safety. The department would receive a list of those staff members as well.
Missouri Western State University’s Risk Manager Tim Kissock said the bill would allow the university to make the decision on whether they would have designated individuals be able to carry guns on campus.
“It’s premature to say if we would even do it at this time,” Kissock said. “There’s a lot of hoops you have to go through to make that happen.”
The university currently has a safe campus where weapons are not allowed, except for the nine Missouri Western police officers who are armed.
Kissock said it’s been debated in the legislature for years on whether to allow guns on campus.
Concealed weapons have been allowed on public Kansas university campuses since summer of 2017. The Legislature there just voted down an attempt to allow colleges to opt out.
According to the Kansas House, anyone carrying a concealed firearm on a college or university campus must receive training in gun safety. That applies to students as well as faculty and staff.
Kristen Carver can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @NPNowCarver
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