Missouri lawmakers expand gun in schools, cities

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri lawmakers expanded the potential for teachers to bring guns in schools and residents to openly carry firearms in cities on Thursday by overriding a veto of legislation by Gov. Jay Nixon.

The vote capped a two-year effort by the Republican-led Legislature to expand gun rights over the objection of the Democratic governor.

A more far-reaching measure that sought to nullify federal gun control laws died in the final hours of the legislative session in May. Nixon vetoed a similar bill last year that could have subjected federal officers to state criminal charges and lawsuits for attempting to enforce federal gun control laws.

The legislation enacted by a two-thirds majority Thursday will allow specially trained school employees to carry concealed guns on campuses. It also allows anyone with a concealed weapons permit to carry guns openly, even in cities or towns with bans against the open carrying of firearms.

The age to obtain a concealed weapons permit also will be lowered from 21 to 19 under the bill.

The changes take effect in about a month.

Missouri school boards already have the power to allow employees with concealed gun permits to carry weapons on their campuses. The new law requires the state Department of Public Safety to establish training guidelines for schools wanting to designate a teacher or administrator as a "school protection officer" authorized to carry a concealed gun or self-defense spray.

The vote makes Missouri the 10th state to pass legislation allowing armed school employees since 20 children and six adults died during a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012.

States such as New York, California and Connecticut ramped up gun restrictions since the shooting. Conservative states, including Missouri, did the opposite.

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Gun bill is SB656.

Online:

Senate: http://www.senate.mo.gov

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