Committee passes bill allowing legislators to carry firearms in Capitol

Tuesday, May 4, 2010 | 9:05 a.m. CDT; updated 11:26 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, May 5, 2010

JEFFERSON CITY — The Senate General Laws Committee passed a bill that gave legislators and their employees the right to carry firearms into the Missouri Capitol.

In the same year that two House members appeared to be restrained from charging each other on the House floor, the committee heard no opposition over the expansion.

Prosecuting attorneys, circuit attorneys and their assistants would also receive the right to carry and conceal under the language of the bill.

Sen. Dan Clemens, R-Marshfield, said the biggest challenge in passing this bill would be working past a provision that lowers the minimum age for the firearm concealment program to 21 from 23. Proponents of lowering the age say those who join the military after high school are not allowed to carry concealed weapons under current law.

Clemens said that's a good argument because those men and women have already served our country.

"The people that enter the military young have formal training and should be able to carry," Clemens said.

The bill also allows Missourians to purchase and sell rifles and shotguns outside of its border states and expands the right to kill unwanted intruders on a resident's property. Current law allows Missourians to kill intruders that enter the building itself.

Clemens said he has high hopes for the omnibus bill once it is read on the Senate floor but is anxious to hear debate.

He said expects to hear a vote on the bill by the beginning of next week — the last week of the legislative session.

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