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Armed School Employees: Missouri Legislature Overrides Veto on Gun Bill

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The Missouri legislature voted early Thursday morning to override Gov. Jay Nixon's veto on a bill that will allow districts in the Show Me State to designate teachers or administrators as "school protection officers," who will be authorized to carry concealed firearms in school buildings and classrooms.

Nixon vetoed the bill in July.

"I have consistently opposed the arming of teachers as a means to keep schools safe. It is simply the wrong approach, and one that I do not support," he wrote in a veto statement. 

"The safety of Missourians—especially children—has long been a top priority of mine, both as Governor and as the former chief law enforcement officer of our state. I have supported, and will continue to support, the use of duly authorized law enforcement officers employed as school resource officers in schools. This bill, which would create a new mechanism for the arming of teachers, would not make schools safer."

Under the bill, school boards can meet in closed session to designate employees as school protection officers, who will be authorized to "carry a concealed firearm or self-defense spray device." It's an approach similar to Texas' school marshals program, which was a part of a series of guns-in-schools bills passed by state legislatures following the 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

"School protection officers have the same power to detain and arrest as any other person would have under current law regarding defense of persons and property," the Missouri bill says. "Upon detention, the protection officer must immediately notify school administrators and school resource officers. If the person detained is a student, then the parents of the student must also be immediately notified."

The bill also requires the Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission to create training standards and materials for approved school staff, who must pass a screening and background check.

 

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