Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Concealed Carry On Buses And Trains In Missouri

Concealed carry on the St. Louis light rail system, MetroLink, is not only prohibited but a felony. Moreover, as noted in the comments in my post on concealed carry at the NRA Annual Meeting, carry on buses is specifically prohibited.

Things may be changing on this. Missouri Rep. Ed Schieffer (D-Troy) has introduced a bill, HB 1483, which would forbid any local government from prohibiting concealed carry on trains or public buses. The relevant section of his bill states:
3. No political subdivision of this state shall prohibit a person with a valid concealed carry endorsement from carrying a concealed firearm onto a train or public bus.
The bill has bi-partisan support with three Democrat co-sponsors and four Republican co-sponsors. Of greater interest is that two of the Democrats, Rep. Tommie Pierson and Rep. Eileen McGeoghegan, represent districts in St. Louis County.

According to a story in today's St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis Metro officials contend that crime is not a problem on their buses and trains. They report spending $10 million a year on security and have contracts with the St. Louis PD, the St. Louis County PD, and the St. Clair County (IL) Sheriff's Department. The article notes that the transit authority earned TSA's "Gold Standard" for their commitment to rider safety.

Public hearings were held on the bill on April 3rd. Again, from the Post-Dispatch story:
Steve Marx, who owns Marx Hardware in Old North St. Louis, testified in favor of the bill at last week's hearing. Marx said he would like to ride public transportation from his home to work but he worries about his safety. He rarely goes anywhere without his gun since he was assaulted on the street near his home two years ago, he said.

"If I choose to wait for public transit on the street, I'm vulnerable — very vulnerable," he said. "This is why I feel so strongly about this issue."...

Marx said he thinks more people will use public transportation — particularly with rising fuel costs — if the bill passes. "My whole point is that mass transit needs to be opened up to more people — more ridership," he said.
Of course, like any newspaper piece nowadays, they included comments on the proposed bill from those suffering from PsH.
Rep. Mike Colona, D-St. Louis, disagrees. "Parents with kids who ride the trains aren't going to let them if they know people are packing on the trains," he said.

MetroLink rider Amy Lee of St. Charles said she doesn't agree with the idea of allowing transit passengers to carry concealed guns.

"That would scare me," she said. "I don't know that I would ride the Metro."

Nancy Kinney of St. Louis, a regular MetroLink and bus rider, said she would be less inclined to ride if she knew other riders could be carrying handguns. "I mean it's different if they're a security guard or a police officer," she said. "But John Doe? No."

The bill has not been calendared yet but the House General Laws Committee could take it up in their meeting today. Similar bills have passed in Texas, Georgia, and Indiana.

8 comments:

  1. So, here we see the problems in states that do not have strong preemption laws regarding firearms: patchwork regulations that must be solved with piecemeal legislation.

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  2. "the transit authority earned TSA's "Gold Standard" for their commitment to rider safety. "

    So I can assume that with TSA's track record there is a ton of drugs, bombs, guns, and knives that get past security on the MetroLink?

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  3. @PT: You took the words right out of my mouth! According to the story, in 2010, they had 16 robberies and 3 assaults on transit authority buses and trains. Given some of the neighborhoods Metrolink goes through, I'm surprised it isn't more. I don't know if that counts attacks and robberies on the train platforms.

    @LCConservative: In general, MO does have fairly strong preemption but there are exceptions that have been carved out. Remember that MO has two large Democrat strongholds in KC and St. Louis with the rest of the state being fairly rural and Republican.

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  4. Strange, I thought we had a preemption law that would negate the train law ... in fact, I'm surprised subdivisions can create felonies, although there are unique provisions for KC and St. Louis. If I was ever going to visit them I'd look into this.

    However a law prohibiting subdivisions from passing laws against carrying on buses is not to the point when there's already a state law against that.

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  5. What bothers me is I can't find a definition for "dangerous or deadly weapon" anywhere in the statutes. I'm 6'5" 300+ pounds and wear 15EEEEEE shoes; could those be considered "dangerous or deadly weapons"?

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  6. It is naive to believe there are currently no people on public transit who are "packing." The point of this legislation is to allow people with valid concealed weapons permits to carry their handguns as part of their daily lives. This just makes sense if you realize these are law-abiding citizens who choose to carry for their own reasons, and are merely using public transportation to get around rather than walking or driving their own vehicles.

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  7. I'm in Houston, my daughter lives in St. Louis (both CHL holders). We are allowed to carry on public transportation here (I always do), and I've never heard of a CHL holder shooting anyone on a Houston Metro bus or train, including legitimate self defense. My daughter will not get on MetroLink in St. Louis, since she can't carry. Despite some of the above comments, I suspect usage would increase overall with a change in the law. The no-carry law is surprising in that Missouri is fairly 2nd amendment friendly overall. Public support could change things.

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