Imagine sending your college student off to his or her destination with that final reminder: “Did you remember to pack your gun?”
It could be a valid question. Missouri legislators have pre-filed bills that, if passed, would allow college students 19 and older, faculty, staff and visitors to the campus to bring concealed weapons with them.
The bills pre-filed by state Sens. Brian Munzlinger, R-Williamstown, and Bob Dixon, R-Springfield, would lift the current ban on concealed carrying at higher education institutions. Munzlinger’s bill would allow colleges to file for an exemption, but only if they have weapon detectors and security guards at every building entrance on campus.
In the wake of mass shootings across the country — some of which have been on college campuses — the bills raise the question of how allowing guns on campus would make students at higher education institutions safer. Munzlinger’s reasoning is that gun-free zones are targets for those wishing to cause harm or murder.
Texas recently became the eighth state to allow the carrying of concealed weapons on campuses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Seven other states — Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Utah and Wisconsin — now have laws or court rulings allowing the carrying of concealed weapons on some campuses, according to the NCSL.
In neighboring Kansas, concealed carry will be allowed on campuses beginning July 1, 2017. Nearly 1,000 people are expected to attend a forum today at the University of Kansas addressing concealed weapons.
Each time legislation has passed in a state, school administrators have been quick to raise concerns about the potential for that many guns being brought onto the campus. Law enforcement also sees the danger in the growing number of concealed weapons being carried.
This newspaper supports the Second Amendment, but it also supports the use of common sense.
Just a year ago, Missouri passed law that allows specially trained school employees to carry concealed weapons. In our view, using that law, along with providing additional funding for campuses to hire additional security, makes more sense than what Munzlinger and Dixon are proposing.