The Reporter covers Miller, Morgan and Camden County in Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks and is published once per week on Wednesdays.


Published January 31, 2018

Local Rep files bill to allow concealed guns in churches

JEFFERSON CITY- Local Representative Rocky Miller (Republican) has submitted a bill that would eliminate a concealed carry holder from needing permission to carry a weapon in a church.

The bill was pre-filed December 1, read once on January 3 and a second time on January 4. It was referred to General Laws last week (January 24).

Currently those with a Concealed Carry Permit and not allowed to carry a gun concealed in a variety of places. Those are:

• Any police, sheriff, or highway patrol office or station (without the consent of the chief law enforcement officer in charge of that office or station).
• Within twenty-five feet of any polling place on any election day.
• The facility of any adult or juvenile detention or correctional institution, prison or jail.
• Any courthouse solely occupied by the circuit, appellate or supreme court, or any courtrooms, administrative offices, libraries or other rooms of any such court whether or not such court solely occupies the building in question. (Includes any juvenile, family, drug, or other court offices, any room or office wherein any of the courts or offices that are temporarily conducting any business within the jurisdiction of such courts or offices).
• Any meeting of the governing body of a unit of local government; or any meeting of the general assembly or a committee of the general assembly (this does not apply to a member of the government body holding a valid concealed carry permit).
• Any establishment licensed to dispense intoxicating liquor for consumption on the premises, which portion is primarily devoted to that purpose, without the consent of the owner or manager. (This does not apply to the licensee of the establishment or a restaurant open to the general public having dining facilities for not less than fifty persons and that receives at least fifty-one percent of its gross annual income from the dining facilities by the sale of food).
• Any area of an airport to which access is controlled by the inspection of persons and property.
• Any place where the carrying of a firearm is prohibited by federal law
• Any higher education institution or elementary or secondary school facility without the consent of the governing body of the higher education institution or a school official or the district school board, unless the person with the concealed carry endorsement or permit is a teacher or administrator of an elementary or secondary school who has been designated by his or her school district as a school protection officer and is carrying a firearm in a school within that district, in which case no consent is required.
• Any portion of a building used as a child care facility without the consent of the manager. (Does not apply to the operator of a child care facility in a family home from owning or possessing a firearm or a concealed carry permit or endorsement).
• Any riverboat gambling operation accessible by the public without the consent of the owner or manager pursuant to rules promulgated by the gaming commission.
• Any gated area of an amusement park.
• Any private property whose owner has posted the premises as being off-limits to concealed firearms by means of one or more signs displayed in a conspicuous place of a minimum size of eleven inches by fourteen inches with the writing thereon in letters of not less than one inch.
• Any sports arena or stadium with a seating capacity of five thousand or more.
• Any hospital accessible by the public.

It is legal to have a concealed weapon in a vehicle on the promises of any of the above areas as long as the weapon is not removed from the vehicle or brandished in the vehicle.

The section that Miller wants removed in its entirety currently states:

• Any church or other place of religious worship without the consent of the minister or person or persons representing the religious organization that exercises control over the place of religious worship. (Having a weapon in a vehicle on the grounds of a place of worship is legal as long as it stays in the vehicle and is not brandished).

Gun advocates says that concealed carry actually can save lives whereas gun control advocates state the less guns the less shootings.

An article written by Patrick Tyrrell, a research coordinator in The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Free Markets and Regulatory Reform (published on February 10, 2016 by The Daily Signal) stated that people are safer where concealed carry holders are allowed.

His statistics (as of that date) stated between 2002 and 2016 there were 54 incidents where assailants intended to kill large numbers of people at random.

Of those 54 shootings, 37 occurred in gun-free zones and 17 occurred in areas that allowed citizens to be armed.

An armed civilian stopped or slowed the shooter in two of the 37 shootings and five of the 17.

(The definition of a mass shooting for the Stanford database is three or more shooting victims injured or killed, not including the shooter).

Tyrell’s conclusion was “If you have a choice to be in a gun-free zone or a legal-to-carry setting, you are less likely to be the victim of a mass shooting where it is legal to carry guns.”

Last November, 26 people were killed in a church shooting in First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. According to CNN, the shooter showed up at the church around 11:20 a.m. where he was spotted at a Valero Gas Station across the street from the church dressed in black “tactical-type gear” and wearing a ballistic vest.

He then crossed the street to the church and began firing in front of the church, moved to the right side of the building and kept shooting entering the church where he continued shooting.

A man who lives next door to the church grabbed his own rifle and engaged the suspect, officials said. The gunman dropped his gun and fled. The neighbor chased after the gunman, who wrecked his vehicle. He was found dead of a gunshot wound.

But an article in Newsweek following that shooting stated that more guns means more violence. They claimed:

• A Scientific American analysis of multiple studies last week concluded that “more guns are linked to more crimes: murders, rapes, and others. Far less research shows that guns help.”
• And 2015 study by he Violence Policy Center showed that gun owners who pull weapons in self-defense are more likely to cause an accidental death than stop someone from committing a crime. They also often just get in the way.
• And after a gunman killed five officers at a rally in 2016, Dallas Police Chief David Brown said it’s hard to know who the “good guy” is versus who the “bad guy” because so many people are carrying guns.

The bill currently has four sponsors, all Republican. Nick Schroer (District 107) Shawn Rhoads (District 154) Keith Frederick (District 121) and Justin Hillhas (District 108).

It has yet to be put on the calendar for a vote.

All content is Copyright 2018 by Reporter Publishing, L.L.C. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited without written permission.