JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMOX) – A bill up for consideration in Jefferson City this week would supercede legal restrictions imposed by the cities of St. Louis and Kansas City when it comes to users of public transit carrying guns.
House sponsor Ed Schieffer, a Democrat from Troy, believes allowing riders of Metro buses and trains to legally carry concealed weapons would actually increase ridership because those using the system would feel safer.
Opponents fear the exact opposite would result if the measure became law.
They say many riders, especially those with children, would balk at using the system if they knew that the person next to them might be armed.
The measure has been working its way through the Missouri legislature without the consent or support of Metro Transit.
In fact, Metro President & CEO John Nations tells KMOX Total Information AM hosts Doug McElvein and Debbie Monterrey, “We didn’t even know about the bill. We weren’t called about it or consulted about it until after it had been filed and been up for a hearing in committee.”
Schieffer’s proposal is scheduled to go before the House General Laws Committee on Tuesday.
Nations, meanwhile, is working to reassure Metro riders that the system is a safe way to get to where they need to go.
“The Transportation Security Administration recognized our operation two and a half weeks ago as one of only 17 in the country to receive their Gold Standard Award for safety and security,” he says.
Nations points to figures compiled in 2010, the last year for which statistics are available, showing that of 40 million passenger boardings per year there were 16 assaults and three robberies reported system-wide.
“We’re very proud of the safety record that we have in St. Louis,” Nations says.