Missouri House passes bill allowing concealed carry in places of worship, on public transportation

Published: Apr. 19, 2023 at 7:20 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - A Missouri bill could allow guns in churches and other places of worship, as well as on public transportation.

The state House of Representatives passed the bill earlier this week. Now, it heads to the Senate for a first reading.

According to the bill’s summary, the law would repeal the state prohibition on carrying concealed firearms in churches and other places of worship for licensed concealed carry permit holders.

It would also lower the age requirement for concealed carry permits from 19 to 18 years old, make the permits easier for military service members to obtain, and allow concealed firearms on buses.

Some local faith leaders are concerned about what that could mean for places of worship.

Bobby Hawk, the lead pastor at Epic Church in Independence, worried that the bill would have unintended consequences in the event of a violent incident.

“If there’s a lot of people who are carrying and they pull out a firearm, security may not know who the actual perpetrator was,” Hawk said. “It could be very dangerous.”

However, Second Amendment advocates have argued that permit holders represent responsible gun ownership.

Joe Giangrosso, a CCW instructor in Independence, said he believes that a safe and well-trained gun holder could save lives in an emergency.

“People with permits are safer,” he said. “They know what they’re doing when they handle their guns because that’s what the state requires.”

It’s unclear how the bill could impact bus services in St. Louis and Kansas City, since both metro areas have bi-state transportation agencies. The bill would not apply to Amtrak passengers.

Tom Gerend, the executive director of the KC Streetcar Authority, said he and other transportation officials are following the bill closely to learn more about its potential effect on local transit.

“We have a great track record of carrying people safely,” Gerend said. “This bill would make it harder, we believe.”