JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri citizens would be allowed to carry concealed weapons on public transportation under a bill that got initial approval Wednesday from the Missouri House.

House Bill 52 would also allow riders to transport nonfunctional or unloaded firearms on public transportation and would prevent harassment and detainment for those that have their concealed carry permits.

Bill sponsor Rep. Adam Schnelting, R-St. Charles, spoke about the importance of law-abiding citizens being able to carry their firearms in public and not have that be limited by the fact that they’re on a bus.

“I believe this legislation will discourage criminal activity on our public transportation systems, but more importantly, I believe it is necessary that we provide our citizens … the ability for self-defense,” Schnelting said.

Schnelting said a version of the bill was first brought up in 2012 and shouldn’t be a partisan issue.

While the bill allows for carrying concealed weapons on public transportation, there are exceptions. It doesn’t apply to Amtrak trains or any partnership company of Amtrak.

Rep. Peter Meridith, D-St. Louis, opposes the bill because he said his constituents don’t want more guns on public transportation.

“Public transit are confined spaces for the public,” he said. “People are on them, and they can’t get off because something is happening.”

The bill was given initial approval by the House after debate. It still needs to go through a roll-call vote before it can head to the Senate for consideration.

  • Mark Horvit is the state government editor. Call me at 817-726-1621 with story ideas, tips or complaints.

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