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We support the state’s concealed carry laws, but legislation to expand the law goes too far.

State Rep. Jered Taylor has introduced House Bill 258, which would allow guns on college campuses, at businesses, churches, polling places and childcare facilities.

As we reported Thursday, supporters and opponents of the bill packed a Capitol hearing room on Wednesday, when a House committee heard testimony on Taylor’s bill.

Taylor said the law change would let people protect themselves in places they can’t currently do so.

Allowing people to carry concealed firearms in more locations would prevent violence, he said, adding that, on average, it can take more than 10 minutes for police to respond to calls for service.

Others testified against the bill, including Lincoln University Police Chief Gary Hill.

Hill said he’s all for people being allowed to defend themselves, but he’s not convinced it would lower the already-dropping crime rate at LU. He said he would worry about student safety, including situations in which people may be trying to protect themselves, but officers arriving on the scene don’t initially realize that.

LU students, he said, also oppose concealed weapons on campus.

Members of Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in America also attended the hearing to oppose the bill, citing an increase in firearm incidents in Jefferson City.

Others at the hearing added salient arguments against the bill:

• State Rep. Peter Merideth, D-St. Louis, said churches generally have said they don’t want to allow people to carry weapons in church.

• Matthew Brooks, a primary care physician with Jefferson City Medical Group, testified gun violence in Missouri increased after the 2007 repeal of the law requiring a permit to purchase a firearm.

Passionate voices exist on both sides of Second Amendment issues. But we believe allowing hidden handguns that are loaded into some places could cause more bloodshed than it would prevent.

News Tribune

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