Missouri bill would allow guns on public buses

Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri bus riders and other public transportation users could bring guns with them under a bill advancing in the state House. 

The Republican-led chamber gave the proposal initial approval in a voice vote Wednesday. 

Currently, firearms and other dangerous weapons are not allowed on public transit. 

The pending bill would allow people with concealed carry permits to bring guns on publicly funded transportation, which includes the Kansas City Streetcar and St. Louis buses. The bill wouldn't allow guns on Amtrak trains. 

"This legislation will discourage criminal activity on our public transportation systems," said Republican bill sponsor Rep. Adam Schnelting, of St. Charles. "But more importantly I believe that it is necessary that we provide our citizens...the ability for self defense."

Democratic Rep. Peter Merideth said it's unfair that most people in Missouri can carry firearms easily — concealed carry permits no longer are needed — while people who rely on public transportation to get around cannot bring guns with them.

But he also said residents in his St. Louis district told him they think guns will make public transit less safe. 

"The vast majority of people that use public transit don't want more guns on transit," he said. 

The bill needs another vote of approval to go to the Senate.