A bill that allows faculty to conceal and carry on campus just passed legislature.
House Bill 575, if passed, will potentially allow certain staff members who get proper training and are approved by the Department of Public Safety to conceal and carry on campus.
Risk manager on campus, Tim Kissock, gives his viewpoint on the matter.
“We, as an institution, don’t think things will be made better by more weapons on campus,” Kissock said. “We like the status quo of limitations of weapons on campus. So any bill that’s going to come down the pike that allows more weapons at the campus, we’re not in favor of. That being said, we will do whatever the state legislature tells us to do. And in good faith, we will make it work.”
Kissock went on to say there has been a constant movement throughout the years to increase the ability of people to carry guns with less government oversight.
“It has been the trend in Missouri and nationally for a number of years,” Kissock said. “I think this is one of the next steps in that progression to allow concealed carry in more additional places like colleges and universities.”
House Bill 575 has been amended in the legislature many times before and has just now made its way to the senate.
Dr. Steve Lorimor explained how the bill could potentially affect the campus if passed.
“I think it will affect Missouri Western,” Lorimor said. “I think it will definitely require the education of the faculty members of what the rules are, and then, ultimately, Missouri Western will have to educate the students on what this means.”
Lorimor continues on to try to put the new bill into a political perspective.
“If this is such a good idea, why don’t they allow concealed carry within the state house?” Lorimor said.
This would be a new deal for Missouri, but not for some other states. States like Kansas, Colorado, Arkansas, Texas and eight more already allow concealed carry on campus. All the states have different policies based on the states law. Some states like Oklahoma, Indiana, Arizona and nineteen more, leave it up to the college to determine whether or not they allow concealed carry. Missouri is one of sixteen states that does not already allow firearms on campus.
This bill could be an issue for some students, and for others, it could cause no difference to their study at Missouri Western.
Student Caitlin Hoak gives her personal insight on House Bill 575.
“I sort of stand on both sides of the bill,” Hoak said. “I understand the protection aspect of the bill. Although, I don’t necessarily know if it’ll make me feel more or less safe on campus. If a gun is ever needed on campus then obviously the bill would work in our favor. But, at the same time, I don’t know if I would trust just anyone with a firearm.”
House Bill 575 is now awaiting the senate. There is no telling what will be decided among the bill. It is now just a waiting game.