JEFFERSON CITY, MO – The Missouri House is deliberating a bill that could significantly change the landscape of school safety by broadening who can carry concealed firearms on school grounds. Under current Missouri law, designated teachers and administrators can become School Protection Officers (SPOs), allowing them to carry concealed guns or self-defense spray at school, provided they have a valid concealed carry permit and school authorization.
House Bill No. 1440 aims to extend these permissions to other school staff members. Advocates for the bill argue it’s a step forward in enhancing the safety of students and faculty by ensuring a rapid response capability in the event of a school shooting.
In an interview with a local news outlet, Roger Moore, a seasoned law enforcement instructor, voices strong support for the bill. With experience in training police officers for active shooter scenarios, Moore highlights the urgent need for immediate on-site intervention, noting that most active shooter incidents conclude before law enforcement can arrive.
Moore emphasizes that the bill doesn’t guarantee approval for every staff member with a CCW to carry a firearm; they must demonstrate proficiency equal to that of a police officer.
“The goal is to minimize casualties by ensuring an intervention-capable person is present in each building,” says Moore.
This level of readiness, according to Moore, could be the key to neutralizing threats swiftly, potentially saving lives.
Conversely, the proposal has met with opposition from individuals like Roger Franklin of the Springfield Action Center, who advocates for reducing gun access among youth. Franklin expresses concern about the added responsibilities and decisions school staff would face, including the grim possibility of confronting a student with lethal force.
As the bill progresses through the legislative process, the debates highlight the complexities of balancing safety, education, and the responsibilities of school staff. The bill awaits a date to be brought to the House floor, where its fate will be determined by the legislative body.