KANSAS CITY, MO (June 2, 2016) - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has just a matter of days to make a decision on a gun bill that would eliminate the requirement to obtain a permit for concealed carry in the state.
Also known as "constitutional carry," the bill was passed in the House and Senate in late May and echoes the bill passed by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback last year.
"Our forefathers established a Bill of Rights that gives America unique privileges that no one else, no other country, enjoys. We need to protect those rights,” said Rodney Harrison.
Harrison has been a Missouri firearm instructor for nine years and has held a conceal and carry permit just as long. He believes that as long as people are responsible, it is their right to own and carry a firearm.
"The First Amendment and Second Amendment are very inter-related. If we lose one then the other comes to threat,” he said.
The polarizing bill would allow any legal gun owner over the age of 19 to conceal and carry a firearm throughout the state. Gun owners who want to carry out of state would still need a permit, but once granted, would be a life-time license.
"We have so many guns illegally on the streets, just imagine them people saying, 'Oh, I'm legal now,” said Rosilyn Temple.
Temple is the executive director of Mothers In Charge, the Kansas City nonprofit which helps victims of gun violence. Temple lost her 26-year-old son to gun violence and believes that more guns only puts the community even more at risk.
"We fight every day in our community to save someone's child,” she said.
The Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Office said that although they initially received a high increase of calls relating to open carry, they haven’t seen an increase in gun violence since concealed carry permits were eliminated in Kansas last year.
"When this law came out, everybody was concerned there would be people walking around with rifles and guns all over the place. And it wasn't like that,” said Sgt. David Toland.
Toland did say there is concern regarding proper firearm safety training, something that used to be mandatory for new gun owners.
"If you don't practice and train what you're carrying, you're probably going to do more harm than good,” he said.
Another provision to SB 656 would allow school districts to designate a teacher or administrator to conceal and carry a firearm on campus as a "school protection officer."