JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Gov. Mike Parson’s administration received strong public pushback over a proposal to allow weapons in the Missouri Capitol.
All 50 comments that came in between mid-November and mid-December said firearms should not be allowed in the Capitol, even if the owners had concealed carry permits, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported .
“At the present time, visitors are not permitted to bring knives into the Capitol building. Balloons are not allowed either. What is the rationale for allowing firearms, the most deadly weapons of all, on the property?” said one comment among the emails and letters obtained by the newspaper.
The Parson administration unveiled the proposal in November, continuing a divisive debate that began two years ago when then-Gov. Eric Greitens temporarily barred most visitors and employees from bringing concealed weapons into the building. He relented a month later after conservative opposition, including from GOP Rep. Nick Marshall, who erected a sign on his office door offering to lend guns to building visitors.
“The Office of Administration is reviewing the public comments and is working to complete that review,” said agency spokeswoman Brittany Ruess.
Under the proposed rule, no gun owners would be allowed in the House or Senate chambers or in committee hearing rooms.
Ruth Ehresman and Mary Clemons, co-presidents of the University City-based Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice, wrote in opposition on behalf of the organization’s 1,600 members.
“Many school groups visit the Capitol. Children and teachers should not be subjected to people with firearms roaming the building,” they wrote.
The administration now has until mid-February to submit the rule, either in its original form or an amended version, to the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules.
That committee would have 30 days to approve, reject or withdraw the rule from consideration.