Packing and parking: Bill would allow guns in parked cars on business property

Apr 26, 2013
Originally published on April 25, 2013 6:40 pm

Floor debate on House Bill 372


The Missouri House has passed yet another bill that expands the rights of gun owners, less than 24 hours after passing legislation aimed at blocking the federal government from enforcing federal gun laws in the Show-Me State.


House Bill 372 would bar business owners from prohibiting anyone from legally possessing a firearm in their vehicles while parked at their businesses.  Republican Representative Stanley Cox of Sedalia and Democrat Genise Montecillo of St. Louis County argued over whether the bill could put small business owners out of business.


"The legal, honest person carrying a gun makes us safer, not less safe," Cox said.  Montecillo responded, "I disagree with that, that’s a contention you’re making, not a fact," to which Cox said, "It IS a fact, it is a fact!"  "It’s not a fact!" Montecillo repeated.


At that point, Cox and Montecillo were talking over each other, with each accusing the other of not letting the other finish.


Another Republican, Jeffery Justus of Branson, said he’s a small business owner and doesn’t think guns in parked cars would threaten his livelihood.  Another Democrat, Margo McNeil of Hazelwood, said vehicles known to have guns in them would become targets for being robbed.


"I also feel that it’s (an) imposition on private business owners that may not want to see guns on their property, in their business, and yet we are telling them, 'you have no choice,'" McNeil said.


Minutes later, McNeil was asked by Republican Bryan Spencer of Wentzville if she knew which members of the Missouri House have conceal carry endorsements and are armed while on the House floor.  When she said she did not know, Spencer said, "Isn't that kind of like a parking lot where you don't know whether there's a gun in the car or not?"


McNeil replied, "My fear in this chamber is that if we have a shooter, that someone in this body will go to shoot (the shooter), and end up shooting me!"  As she said that, Spencer continually asked, "Is that a yes, or a no?  Yes or no?"  McNeil also said that it makes her very nervous that there are members of the Missouri House who carry guns on their person while on the House floor.


Business owners would be able to ban firearms inside of company-owned vehicles, however.  The bill now goes to the Missouri Senate.


Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport


Copyright 2013 KWMU-FM. To see more, visit http://www.stlpublicradio.org.