JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A Missouri House committee heard bills on Wednesday that would remove a requirement for Missourians to get a permit in order to carry a concealed weapon, and another that would allow them to carry guns on public transportation.
The measures come after Missouri primary voters last August voted to limit the state’s ability to regulate guns.
One bill, House Bill 1250, was sponsored by Rep. Eric Burlison. He likened the state requiring someone to pay for a permit to carry a concealed weapon to a tax being leveraged when they show up to the polls to vote.
“We don’t require a fee for your First Amendment rights, but we do your Second,” he said. “My view is you should not be required to purchase a permit.”
Burlison said the process of getting a permit to carry a concealed weapon could be as high as $200, between the class one has to take and the permit being purchased from the sheriff’s office. Burlison noted that a permit is not required for one to carry a weapon openly.
Burlison presented his bill during the same hearing that Rep. Ron Hicks, R-St. Charles, presented his measure that would allow people to carry weapons on public transportation. Hicks said during his few experiences on a St. Louis public train while going to a St. Louis Cardinals game, he and his wife felt uncomfortable.
“If anyone in here has rode the MetroLink, I think you understand what I’m talking about,” he said.
Hicks pointed to a recent case in St. Louis where a group of three men attacked another man on the train.
“He may have had a source to protect himself if he was allowed to do so,” he said, adding his belief that the “situation could have went south really fast if one of those individuals had a firearm.”
Rep. Mike Colonoa, D-St. Louis, said that is exactly the problem.
“How do you think it would have ended?,” he posed to Hicks. “It was a race issue. It’s a volatile situation, and I think to myself, ‘thank God nobody had a gun on that train.’”
Both bills earned the support of the National Rifle Association, whose lobbyist here, Whitney O”Daniel, testified on Wednesday. ”This bill would now allow you to openly carry a firearm on a MetroLink or bus,” he said.
The Hicks bill was opposed by representatives of public transportation entities from St. Louis, Kansas City and Springfield.