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Proposed Missouri law would expand right to carry in church

A Missouri House committee is considering a bill that would override existing law that restricts the possession of a concealed carry firearm in places of worship without consent or knowledge of persons in charge.

Rep. Ben Baker, R-Neosho, is sponsoring the bill, which he said would ensure Missourians’ “constitutional right” to carry firearms when attending places of worship. Private property rights would still stand, and if religious organizations want to prohibit firearms in their spaces, they may still choose to do so by posting signage outside. Opponents questioned if that would put them at further risk.

The bill is getting extra attention after a transgender shooter shot and killed six people in a church school in Nashville. Three nine-year-old students and three adults were murdered.

William Bland spoke in support of the bill, saying that mass shootings in churches are real and would allow other concealed carry permit holders to strengthen the force against them. “By granting permission, the church is exposed to liability in the event of a CCW permit holder is involved in an unfortunate event involving the firearm even if that action is justified,” he said.

J.T. Young, a pastor at Concord Trinity United Methodist Church and a member of Moms Demand Action, said that this bill would force guns inside of worship spaces. “In addition to preaching and counseling and presiding over funerals and weddings, I would have to spend time developing active-shooter plans,” Young said.

Another set of bills also was discussed that would disregard any federal statute that would enforce a red-flag gun law designed to have a court take weapons from someone considered to be dangerous. Ron Calzone of Missouri First said red-flag laws have the potential for guns to be taken away from women who are experiencing abuse.

“You will see red-flag laws weaponized against people,” Calzone said. He went on to say that if a woman who owns a firearm for protection had her partner claim she was not fit to possess it would lose her protection.

According to the bill summary, confiscating any firearm, firearm accessory or ammunition from law-abiding citizens is considered an infringement on the right to bear arms provided by the Second Amendment. Red-flag laws allow people to petition to a court to have an individual’s firearms confiscated if they pose a threat to themselves or others. Currently, no red-flag gun laws are in place in Missouri.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice

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