By: José Niño

A bill sponsored by Missouri State Representative Adam Schnelting, which would let individuals with concealed carry permits to carry firearms on public transportation and in places of worship, has recently made considerable progress in the State House.

“We all have the potential of running into situations where we have to utilize self-defense to protect ourselves and those we love,” Schnelting declared on the House floor on April 13, 2023. “This legislation will discourage criminal activity on our public transportation systems, but most importantly, it will ensure that we maintain our constitutional right to self-defense.”

An amendment that was successfully tacked on by State Representative Ben Baker would also do away with the current rule prohibiting concealed firearms in places of worship without the permission of the congregation’s religious leader. The Missouri House initially approved the legislation on a voice vote on April 13. The bill is now in the Missouri State Senate awaiting a vote.

All things considered such legislation should pass with relative ease due to the partisan makeup of the Missouri General Assembly. Republicans dominate both the State House (111-52) and the State Senate (24-10) and control the governor’s office. Ever since Missouri passed Constitutional Carry — the concept that any lawful individual could carry a firearm without a permit — in 2016, the state has drifted in a more pro-gun direction. The state is currently ranked in 17th place for Guns & Ammo Magazine’s rankings and is likely going to continue moving in an upward pro-gun direction.

The legislation in question is a no-brainer. There’s nothing magical about public transportation and religious venues that will keep them safe from deranged individuals who want to commit harm. In fact, when these areas are turned into gun-free zones they become attractive targets for mass shooters. According to criminologist John Lott’s research, 98% of mass shootings have taken place in gun-free zones since 1950.

If we’re being honest, gun-free zones should be better labeled as “criminal-safe zones” since they allow criminals to prey on unarmed citizens at will. With gun-free zones still largely intact across America, psychopathic murderers will invariably continue targeting these venues. The good news is that state legislatures nationwide are beginning to recognize the dangers of gun-free zones and are passing legislation to do away with these pro-criminal safe spaces.

Missouri is just the latest in red state legislatures that are beginning to whittle away at gun-free zones. If these dangerous civilian disarmament policies are to be repealed nationally, the best place to start is by passing legislation to repeal gun-free zones at the local and state level.

José Niño is a freelance writer based in Austin, Texas. Contact him via Facebook, Twitter, or email him at [email protected]. Get his e-book, The 10 Myths of Gun Control, here.