Missouri Senate committee to hear arguments on campus gun bill

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- "I look at it as a deterrent, but it's also it's a way to deal with a situation if it arises," said Rep. Dean Dohrman.

Dohrman's bill, House Bill 575 spent about two months in the House of Representatives being amended and debated, but it was passed to the Senate on April 8 by a 98 to 52 vote.

Now, arguments will be heard on the bill in the Senate Transportation, Infrastructure, and Public Safety Committee at 8:20 a.m. Thursday.

If this bill passes the Senate, that means full time staff at Missouri colleges and universities can volunteer and train to handle different emergency situations.

"The worst case scenario, a shooting, they usually last five to six minutes. It takes 11 minutes as an average response for law enforcement," Dohrman said. "So, to have someone at the point of the incident is very important."

Dohrman, a Sedalia Republican, says this training would be given by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, and this would be strictly volunteer based.

Representative Greg Razer, a Kansas City democrat, says he hasn't seen eye to eye with Dohrman.

Razer says he doesn't think having more guns on campus is a deterrent to shootings.

"I don't think that's the answer, but if I'm wrong, it's only a band-aid," Razer said. "If I'm wrong this is only a band-aid on a much larger problem."

Dohrman says not everyone will be allowed to carry a deadly weapon. They'll still have to have their conceal carry permit to do so.

Dohrman also says this law would still prohibit the 17 places where conceal carry isn't allowed, like bars and churches.

The college or university would also have a decision on how to move forward with their own rules regarding campus protection officers.

"The administration of each campus will formulate their policies of when, how, and so forth to carry," Dohrman said. "It's not just a wide open, anyone can bring a gun on campus."

This bill would also set up a STEM studies enhancement scholarship, and would prohibit colleges and universities from requiring students older than first-year freshmen to live on campus.