JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The ability of certain school personnel to carry concealed weapons in school buildings is part of sweeping gun rights legislation given preliminary approval by the Missouri House on Wednesday.
The House adopted a series of proposals that would greatly expand gun rights in the state. It would expand who can buy and carry weapons, while also declaring federal gun control proposals unenforceable within the state's borders.
Missouri House action came hours after Republicans and some Democrats in the U.S. Senate rejected tighter background checks for buyers and a ban on assault weapons.
The provision allowing designated school employees to carry concealed weapons in Missouri schools was sponsored by Republican Rep. Rick Brattin, of Harrisonville. It would allow appointed "protection officers" to carry concealed weapons as long as they have a valid permit and register with the state Department of Public Safety. The officers would also be required to complete a training course established by a state peace officer training commission.
"This is a way of protecting our schools and children where it matters most," Brattin said.
Brattin's amendment was tacked onto a bill that declares all federal gun control laws unenforceable.
Another bill given first-round approval Wednesday would criminalize the enforcement of any federal gun control laws adopted after January 2013.
Democratic Rep. Stacey Newman, of St. Louis, said the Republican proposals to expand gun rights were "shameful" and a reaction to proposed gun control measures at the federal level.
The House also voted to allow people at age 19 to apply for a concealed weapons permit. Missouri law currently allows concealed guns to be carried by people age 21 and older who have no felony convictions, are not mentally incompetent and pass a firearms training course and background check.
The legislation would also allow firearms less than 16 inches in length to be openly carried by people with valid concealed weapons permits and would exempt private handgun sales from background checks. A provision was also added that would prohibit health professionals from being required to ask people about firearm ownership or documenting it in medical records.
The proposals need one more affirmative vote before moving to the Senate.
Associated Press writer Chris Blank contributed to this report.