We would like to add one more voice to the chorus: We don’t need guns in the Capitol Building.
Previous Gov. Eric Greitens banned most employees and visitors from bringing concealed firearms into the public building. That caused an outcry by some Republican lawmakers, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported at the time.
The paper reported Rep. Nick Marshall, a Republican from Platte County, for example, said the ban infringed on the rights and freedoms of visitors to the Capitol. After the prohibition went into effect, Marshall erected a sign on his office door in the Capitol offering to lend guns to people while they visit the building.
Greitens, who resigned last June, changed his decision, saying guns would be acceptable as long as their owners have permits.
But, currently, the gun ban remains in effect.
Now, Gov. Mike Parson, a former sheriff and a gun advocate, is weighing in on the issue. In November, his administration proposed a rule change to allow concealed carry weapons into the Capitol.
The Office of Administration took public comments for 30 days in November and December. All 50 comments said firearms should not be allowed in the Capitol, even if the owners have concealed carry permits, the Post-Dispatch reported.
We agree. Visitors who enter the Capitol are screened for weapons by metal detectors, a security step taken after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. That, combined with the fact that it already has its own police protection in the form of Capitol Police, may greatly lessen the need for any form of self-protection inside the Capitol.
Plus, school children from all across the Show-Me State visit the Capitol each year. In many instances, it’s a rare opportunity for them to see first-hand how their state government works, as well as to admire the beautiful architecture, the art inside, and the revolving displays in the Rotunda and nearby museum.
The students and their caretakers from the schools should be able to make and enjoy these trips like they have in the past, knowing that no one except a police officer is walking beside them with a loaded firearm.
We support the current concealed carry laws, but there are some places where firearms are not needed or appropriate. The Capitol is one of them.
Guns in the Capitol won’t increase safety or the perception of safety. We hope lawmakers listen to the feedback they received, and keep the status quo.