Area lawmakers hoping to override Holden's veto

Tuesday, September 9, 2003

Missouri's Republican-dominated legislature has a good chance to override Gov. Bob Holden's veto of a right-to-carry concealed weapons bill, two local lawmakers said Monday.

"This is not the same bill that was narrowly defeated by the voters in 1999," said Rod Jetton, the House speaker pro tem.

Jetton said the bill vetoed by Holden, a Democrat, has more restrictions, more training and better background checks.

Jetton and state Rep. Scott Lipke of Jackson, both Republicans, held a news conference at the Cape Girardeau County Administration Building in Jackson to talk up this week's veto session and the opportunity to push through legislation to allow Missourians to carry concealed weapons.

The legislation would require Missourians to be at least 23 years of age to carry concealed guns. They also would have to purchase a permit at a cost of $100. It would cost $50 to renew the permit every three years, Jetton said.

Lipke and Jetton predicted it would be a close vote on the issue in the veto session that begins Wednesday. That's because it takes a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate to override Holden's veto.

"It is so close and people are so polarized by the issue," Lipke said.

Lipke said 109 votes are needed in the House and 23 in the Senate for a successful override.

Right to carry

Jetton said Missouri is one of only five states in the country that doesn't have a "right to carry" law.

"In each state where this has passed, violent crime has been reduced," he said.

Jetton said the cost of a permit probably would keep many Missourians from carrying concealed weapons.

That's been the pattern in other states, he said. "Very few people get it, but the criminals don't know which ones," Jetton said.

As a result, he said, just having the law is a deterrent to violent crime.

Jetton said concealed guns are needed to fight crime in rural areas where there are few police officers.

"We know we have to rely on ourselves," he said.

mbliss@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 123

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