House Bill 436 would do several things. They include making it a misdemeanor for any federal officer to try and enforce any federal gun control laws that conflict with a Missourian’s right to “keep or bear arms.” It would allow K-12 schools to designate an employee who’s also a conceal-carry holder to be an armed “school protection officer,” and it would lower the conceal carry age from 21 to 19. Supporters say the bill would make Missouri safer, but State Representative Chris Kelly (D, Columbia) argued that it actually has nothing to do with guns.
“It is about Missouri saying that we will not follow the United States Constitution," Kelly said. "It is about secession, and only about secession.”
The bill was sponsored by State Representative Doug Funderburk (R, St. Charles).
“I think this bill removes the noose the federal government has been gradually putting around the necks of its citizens and pulling it tighter, and tighter, and tighter,” Funderburk said during his closing statement.
Meanwhile, roughly 300 people rallied inside the Capitol Rotunda before and during floor debate. They voiced support for the measure while opposing the Department of Revenue's recently-halted practice of scanning source documents of conceal carry weapons (CCW) applicants. Several gun-friendly lawmakers left the House and Senate floors to attend the rally, including Senate President Pro-tem Tom Dempsey (R, St. Charles).
“I was part of the Republican majority that gave Missourians the right to carry-conceal by overriding Governor (Bob) Holden’s (D) veto," Dempsey told the crowd. "I’m (now) part of the Republican majority that’s gonna protect that right from federal overreach and an apathetic Nixon administration.”
Shortly after the rally ended, the Missouri House passed the bill 115 to 41 -- nine Democrats joined Republicans in voting "yes." It now goes to the Missouri Senate.
Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter: @MarshallGReport