Missouri bill that would get rid of ‘gun-free zones’ has some metro business owners nervous

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A new gun debate by Missouri lawmakers has some local business owners on edge.

Some restaurant owners are concerned about the changes that will happen if a bill introduced in the Missouri House of Representatives is passed.

“It would basically force business owners like myself, at bars, but not only that, day care centers, schools, even hospitals, to let people bring weapons in, concealed, loaded weapons in,” said John Couture, the owner of Bier Station in Brookside, “We have a lot of families. You can look around right now and see lots of kids in here, and frankly families are really nervous about this.”

Missouri Rep. Jered Taylor, a Republican from Nixa, is sponsoring legislation that would eliminate so-called "gun-free zones."

There are currently 17 types of businesses where guns are banned, including churches, bars, amusement parks and day cares.

John Couture, the owner of Bier Station in Brookside

But Taylor’s bill would remove that ban and allow concealed carry permit holders to bring a gun as long as the property owner is OK with it.

“I think I speak for, I know our staff and a lot of customers and a lot of tavern owners -- this terrifies people,” Couture said.

Taylor said if a bar owner wants to allow guns, that should be their decision and not the government's.

If this bill passes, all businesses -- including day cares and private schools -- not wanting guns on the premises will have to post a sign banning them.

It's something Couture has already done, but he said there's a balance when it comes to guns.

“I'm not against guns if people want to have guns for hunting or protecting a house," he said. "That's fine. But when you're bringing guns where families are at, into bars and schools, it's time for common sense about this. This just goes too far, especially when you mix alcohol with guns. The common sense thought and the data shows that it's not a good thing. It doesn't end well usually.”

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