KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Future rides on the Kansas City metro’s public transportation systems could include something new: legal firearms.
Missouri lawmakers are considering a bill to allow licensed gun carriers to have guns on public transit, and Kansas City leaders are up in arms about the idea, which has already passed the House in the Show-Me State.
Gun freedom is always a topic of conversation at Claycomo Shooters, a firearms range and retailer Don Pind took over in December. Pind has kept his eye on House Bill 52, which would allow gun owners with a Conceal and Carry Weapons permit to take their guns onto buses and streetcars. Presently, both modes of public transportation carry signs reading “no weapons permitted.”
“You’re taking people on board who like to feel safe. I don’t think the guy driving the streetcar or the local bus is going to be much protection. About all he can do is hit the emergency button or call 911,” Pind said Tuesday.
H.B. 52 is currently in the Missouri Senate. The Senate General Laws Committee was scheduled to hear testimony on the bill Tuesday afternoon, which would include Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas.
Lucas told FOX4 he planned to tell lawmakers this would be unsafe for riders in Kansas City, and the bill draws its focus from the St. Louis region to begin with.
“It’s vital to make sure we’re defeating something like this,” Lucas said. “It’s a terrible idea. Are we going to start letting people carry guns into classrooms because they’re picking up their kids — but they happen to have certification? No. I think not.”
KCATA leaders gave 14 million rides a year ago, and according to a company spokesperson, there were only 14 concerning events in that period, only one of which involved police intervention. Jameson Auten, KCATA’s chief operating officer, said he understands CCW owners have undergone training, but he’s still concerned about a gun holder’s temperament.
“If you discharge a gun on a bus, and there’s 44 people bystanders who have an opportunity to be injured. In terms of adding that to the mix, we’re chasing a problem that doesn’t exist here in Kansas City,” Auten said.
The Kansas City Streetcar Authority also spoke out Tuesday, saying, in a written statement, legalizing conceal and carry gun possession on public transportation would make it harder to keep streetcars secure.
“The pending bill is cause for concern. Our streetcar system has a near spotless safety record and the authorization of concealed-carry guns on board our busy streetcars raises the risk to riders and staff, undercuts our ‘no weapons’ policy that serves to foster a safe environment for all, and makes it more challenging for our police and operations staff to assist with overall security of our system,” Tom Gerend, executive director for the KC Streetcar Authority, said in that statement.
H.B. 52 is scheduled for another hearing next Tuesday in Jefferson City.