Elections have consequences. The election of Donald Trump has been occupying most of the media oxygen in the last three weeks, but the gun culture did very well in state and local elections. In Missouri, Republican Eric Greitens will be replacing Governor Jay Nixon to secure all of state government for the GOP in the Show Me State.
Nixon was decidedly anti-Second Amendment. An omnibus gun law reform bill was passed over his veto in Missouri last year. That bill included permitless or “consititutional” carry. Originally the bill contained a watered down provision for the exercise of Second Amendment rights at public institutions of higher learning. Current Missouri law allows campus administrations to ban weapons on campus. All 13 institutions that offer a four-year degree in Missouri have banned campus carry.
Missouri law currently prohibits concealed firearms at higher education institutions “without the consent of the governing body” of that college, the exception to the rule being university law enforcement officers.
At least four bills introduced between the Missouri House and Senate in 2016 would have changed that statute. One version, sponsored by Rep. Jered Taylor, R-Nixa, that would have allowed full-time employees and faculty, but not students, to have firearms on campus, was later attached to a wide-ranging gun bill. The measure was removed just before the bill passed.
Republicans kept their supermajority in the Missouri Senate, 26 to 8. In the House, the Republican majority is nearly the same as last year, 115 to 45, with 1 independent.
Constitutional carry reform was passed with overwhelming majorities of 112 to 41 in the House and 24 to 6 in the Senate. Given that history, it’s not unreasonable to expect another campus carry bill to pass and be signed into law with a Republican governor in office.
But Greitens is a political outsider. He wasn’t endorsed by the NRA. The NRA endorsed former Republican Rich Koster in the gubernatorial race. Greitens is a relatively recent GOP convert, a former Democrat. He talked about supporting Second Amendment rights during the election. He was a Navy SEAL. He’s a Rhodes Scholar and best selling author. I hope he does well.
Once Greitens takes office, we’ll see if his actions match his words. I’ve watched numerous efforts to pass campus carry — some successful, some not — and I’ve been amazed at the clout the higher education lobby has. They wield power far beyond what you would expect. They control no media. They’re consumers of tax dollars. Yet politicians give them enormous credibility and tend to bow to their whims.
Now that we’re past the election, campus carry of some form will likely pass the legislature in Missouri in 2017. The only question is whether the bill will be signed by Governor Greitens.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.