JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – People with concealed carry licenses could soon bring their firearms on public transit in Missouri.
The Missouri House took up the legislation Monday afternoon, and 124 of the 163 members voted in favor of the measure. House Bill 52, sponsored by Rep. Adam Schnelting, would allow guns on public transit, like the MetroLink in St. Louis, as long as the person has a concealed carry permit.
Lawmakers have said this legislation is something they’ve been trying to push for years.
Under HB 52, with a permit, a person can bring firearms on publicly funded transportation systems like buses and trains. If someone does not have a permit, he or she can still transport a firearm on a bus, as long as the weapon is in a “non-functioning” state.
Schnelting said criminals who ride public transportation already carry firearms and this would protect Missourians from them and their Second Amendment rights.
“This legislation assures the right to self-defense for those that have undergone the CCW firearms training, weapons training,” Schnelting said.
Across the aisle, Democrats said this measure is something that could create more of a problem.
“What do you think the chances are that somebody else in the general public gets hurt if we pass a law like this in those kinds of conditions?” Rep. Wiley Price (D-St. Louis) asked Schnelting. He responded by saying next to none.
“The temperament on the bus in the summer in St. Louis can be kind of hostile without weapons and so I think if you added weapons to this circus, I think it could be problematic for the general public,” Price said.
Price agreed with Schnelting that criminals have firearms regardless of the law, but he said it’s easier for them to access guns in the state due to relaxed gun laws.
“We’re about to make a bill that could probably create more problems than it’s going to stop,” Price said. “You should absolutely always have the right to defend yourself in any situation, I just don’t know if adding weapons to that; the analogy we always use in this body, is the only way to stop a gun is a gun, and I think that is a terrible misconception.
The bill does not allow anyone to carry a gun on Amtrak. HB 52 now heads to the Senate for approval.