COLUMBIA — State Rep. Brian Munzlinger, R-Williamstown, has a response for those who argue that a concealed-carry law would create additional danger on campus. He says it follows "common sense."
"Criminals tend to take the soft targets where it's a gun-free zone," he said of the history of campus attacks. The sponsor of the amendment that applies to firearms on campus, Munzlinger said he doesn't want to belittle campus security officers but that they cannot be everywhere all the time; that leaves a gun-free campus vulnerable.
The presidents of Missouri's public universities who oppose the amendment "cannot show one single case where concealed-carry has caused a problem on campus," Munzlinger said.
"I think they're (the presidents are) just fearing law-abiding people when they should be fearing criminals."
The provision to allow concealed weapons on state campuses passed the House and has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Munzlinger, who has a daughter at MU, said that in more than 80 combined semesters, no campus that allows concealed weapons has had a problem caused by gunmen or by students carrying firearms on campus. He also said he was not aware of any incidents before that.
According to the Students for Concealed Carry on Campus' Web site, Colorado State University, Blue Ridge Community College in Weyers Cave, Va., and all public and state universities in Utah allow concealed weapons on campus.
Munzlinger, a member of the National Rifle Association who owns several firearms and has received training to carry concealed weapons, said those who take the time for the required training are responsible and have not been shown to be a danger. Also, students with permits and weapons on campus could help subdue a gunman on campus if security was not immediately present, he said.
The bill would change the legal age to obtain a permit from 23 to 21 for those who have undergone eight hours of training. While uncertain about future Senate action, Munzlinger said he hoped that they will pass the bill.
Students for Concealed Carry on Campus and the NRA were involved in drafting the bill. The student group proposed language to Munzlinger two years ago, and the NRA has provided research information.