Where your stimulus money is going?: Would a private company make investments like this?

The Washington Post has this:

The John P. Murtha Airport sits on a windy mountain two hours east of Pittsburgh, a 650-acre expanse of smooth tarmac, spacious buildings, a helicopter hangar and a National Guard training center.

Inside the terminal on a recent weekday, four passengers lined up to board a flight, outnumbered by seven security staff members and supervisors, all suited up in gloves and uniforms to screen six pieces of luggage. For three hours that day, no commercial or private planes took off or landed. Three commercial flights leave the airport on weekdays, all bound for Washington Dulles International Airport.

The key to the airport's gleaming facilities -- and, indeed, its continued existence -- is $200 million in federal funds in the past decade and the powerful namesake who steered most of that money here. Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) is credited with securing at least $150 million for the airport. It was among the first in the country to win funding from this year's stimulus package: $800,000 to repave a backup runway. . . . .

Thanks to Kevin Smith for the link.


So we will see how much Obama cuts from the budget

The WSJ has this.

He said that on Monday, at his first, full cabinet meeting, he will ask all agency heads for specific budget cut proposals. He cited efforts under way at the Pentagon to reform contracting procedures and kill hundreds of billions of dollars in "wasteful spending and cost overruns." He also pointed to a decision to end a Department of Homeland Security consulting contract to create new seals and logos that has cost $3 million since 2003. . . . .

Obama's promise time after time during the debates:

“But there is no doubt that we've been living beyond our means and we're going to have to make some adjustments. Now, what I've done throughout this campaign is to propose a net spending cut.”

The WSJ article noted the defense department cuts even though that was one the one area where he promised an increase in spending.

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Missouri House Overwhelmingly passes bill to let permitted concealed handgun on University property

The Missourian has this:

Exactly two years after a gunman killed 32 people and himself on the campus of Virginia Tech, the Missouri House voted Thursday to allow concealed weapons on college campuses.

An amendment to a proposed gun bill, which was approved 105-50 Thursday, would pertain only to gun owners who are properly licensed in the state. The bill will now move to the state Senate for consideration. . . . .

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Is Obama endangering American Safety by releasing CIA memos?

The Politico has this:

White House senior adviser David Axelrod says President Barack Obama spent about a month pondering whether to release Bush-era memos about CIA interrogation techniques, and considered it “a weighty decision.”

“He thought very long and hard about it, consulted widely, because there were two principles at stake,” Axelrod said . “One is … the sanctity of covert operations … and keeping faith with the people who do them, and the impact on national security, on the one hand. And the other was the law and his belief in transparency.”

The president consulted officials from the Justice Department, the CIA, the director of National Intelligence and the Homeland Security Department, according to his adviser.

“It was a weighty decision,” Axelrod said. “As with so many issues, there are competing points of view that flow from very genuine interests and concerns that are to be respected. And then the president has to synthesize all of it and make a decision that’s in the broad national interest. He’s been thinking about this for four weeks, really.”

A former top official in the administration of President George W. Bush called the publication of the memos “unbelievable.”

“It's damaging because these are techniques that work, and by Obama's action today, we are telling the terrorists what they are,” the official said. “We have laid it all out for our enemies. This is totally unnecessary. … Publicizing the techniques does grave damage to our national security by ensuring they can never be used again — even in a ticking-time- bomb scenario where thousands or even millions of American lives are at stake."

“I don't believe Obama would intentionally endanger the nation, so it must be that he thinks either 1. the previous administration, including the CIA professionals who have defended this program, is lying about its importance and effectiveness, or 2. he believes we are no longer really at war and no longer face the kind of grave threat to our national security this program has protected against.” . . .

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Homeland Security ignored objections over report on security dangers from conservatives and veterans

The Washington Times has the story here:

Homeland Security Department officials disregarded warnings from their internal civil liberties watchdogs before releasing a security assessment of "right-wing extremism" that had Secretary Janet Napolitano apologizing to veterans Thursday.

A spokeswoman confirmed that the department's Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties raised objections about some of the language in the nine-page report before it was sent to law enforcement officials nationwide.

The office "did object to a part of the document, which was not resolved before the product went out. This was a breakdown of an internal process that we will fix in the future," said spokeswoman Amy Kudwa.

Homeland Security officials declined to elaborate on or describe in detail the objections of the civil liberty officials, or say whether Ms. Napolitano was made aware of the objections when she was briefed on the general nature of the threat before the report's release on April 7. . . . .


Obama still using the false statistic that 90 percent of Mexican guns are from the US

This is pretty amazing that this false number just won't die.

"This war is being waged with guns purchased not here but in the United States . . . more than 90 percent of the guns recovered in Mexico come from the United States, many from gun shops that lay in our shared border," President Barack Obama said on a visit to Mexico on April 16, 2009. "So we have responsibilities as well."

Major Garrett has a follow up on Obama's claims and how it fits in with the original Fox News piece.

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Multiple victim killing stopped by citizen with a gun

The story is here.

WINTER HAVEN - A local woman's act of self-defense might have saved her life and the lives of four family members, the Winter Haven Police Department reported.

According to police, a Winter Haven man who threatened early Tuesday to shoot and kill members of his family instead was shot by his wife.

The man, 34-year-old Troy A. Christoff, was treated for multiple gunshot wounds at Lakeland Regional Medical Center, according to a police report. He was charged with five counts of attempted first-degree murder with a firearm and, after being released from the hospital under police custody, was booked without bond into the Polk County Jail in Bartow.

According to the report, Winter Haven police responded around 4 a.m. Tuesday to a reported shooting at 1121 Seventh St., S.W., the home of Troy and Dawn Christoff. When they arrived, police discovered that Troy Christoff had been shot multiple times with a 9mm handgun. The shooter was identified as his wife, 35-year-old Dawn Christoff. . . .

Thanks to David Del Buono for the link.



Mayor Bloomberg invades Virginia

The Washington Times has this:

An ad campaign is being launched today to try to force New York City's gun-control laws on Virginians. The ads running in the commonwealth are funded by New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. The mayor should keep his big-government politics north of the Mason-Dixon Line where they belong.

Mr. Bloomberg donated $500,000 last year to a gun-control lobbying outfit called Americans United for Safe Streets, which is running the campaign. The mayor's largesse accounts for 99.5 percent of all money raised by the group. The ads are pegged to the second anniversary of the Virginia Tech shootings and link that carnage to the so-called gun-show loophole. This is part of a broader media campaign. On Friday night, ABC aired a heavily promoted, hourlong special that tied gun shows to the Virginia Tech murders and advocated clamping down on gun shows.

Despite constant media references to an insidious-sounding gun-show loophole, there is no legal loophole for buying firearms at gun shows. . . . .


New Op-ed up at Fox News: ABC’s Shameful ‘20/20′ Experiment

My newest piece is up at Fox News, and it starts this way:

Gun control advocates look desperate. Last Friday night, on April 10, ABC aired a heavily promoted, hour long “20/20″ special called “If I Only Had a Gun.” It is ABC’s equivalent of NBC’s infamous exploding gas tanks in General Motors pickups where NBC rigged the truck to explode. With legislation in Texas and Missouri advancing to eliminate gun-free zones at universities, perhaps this response isn’t surprising.

The show started and ended by claiming that allowing potential victims to carry guns would not help keep them safe –- not even with hundreds of hours of practice firing guns.

No mention was made of the actual multiple victim public shootings stopped by people with concealed handguns nor did they describe who actually carried out such shootings. Instead, ABC presented a rigged experiment where one student in a classroom had a gun. But sometimes even the best editors can’t hide everything the camera sees.

The experiment was set up to make the student fail. . . . .

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Two Talks at Furman University tomorrow

I am supposed to give a talk on gun control at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina from 3:30 to 4:30 PM and another talk on Freedomnomics from 7 to 8 PM.


Does this CNN reporter have a chip on her shoulder?:

CNN Reporter: "It's Anti-government, Anti-CNN Since This is Highly Promoted By the Right-Wing, Conservative Network Fox . . . I think that this is not really family viewing"
Is this reporter arguing with the people there or is she interviewing them? Have you ever seen a reporter arguing with people they are interviewing this much? The rally is "not really family viewing"?


Media keeps claiming false 90 percent figure for US as source of Mexican crime guns

The NY Times has an outrageously inaccurate piece on the US as a source of crime guns to Mexico (click through only if you want to encourage this inaccurate reporting). MSNBC reposts this NY Times piece here.

Federal agents say about 90 percent of the 12,000 pistols and rifles the Mexican authorities recovered from drug dealers last year and asked to be traced came from dealers in the United States, most of them in Texas and Arizona. . . .

Fox News originally explain the problems with this claim and the Washington Times also added some details. I also tried to explain this at the end of my interview on CSPAN.

UPDATE: Meanwhile, CNN has raised this bogus number to 95 to 100 percent.

Those who support the assault weapons ban as a way to curb violence cite figures from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that say American gun sellers supply the Mexican drug cartels with 95 percent to 100 percent of their guns. . . .

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A lot more gun control coming in New York

A local New York newspaper has this warning.

in a couple of weeks the New York State Assembly will be voting on a dozen or more gun bills that will have a lasting effect on everyone who owns or would like to purchase a firearm for self-protection, target shooting, hunting and — as strange as it may seem — trapping and fishing. . . . .



C-SPAN's Washington Journal discussion on Gun Control

For those interested, you can watch the program on your computer here. I think that it went well. The C-SPAN version in the above link provides the best version of the show, but just in case that stops working here is the show on youtube.

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The threat of liability and why boats aren't armed against pirates

So do these boats face liability if they something goes wrong with a gun, but what if something goes wrong because they can't defend their crews? I found two points interesting here. 1) Apparently, many crews are armed. 2) At least some American crews are armed, though it might be limited to the guards who carry guns. 3) The countries with the greatest gun control restrictions seem to be the least logical about these risks. See this here:

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) - Crews have held pirates off with Molotov cocktails, crates of rubbish and oil drums. They've electrified handrails, sprayed attackers with high-pressure fire hoses and simply kicked the pirates' rickety ladders overboard.

But owners of ships plying the pirate-infested waters off Somalia's coast have balked at having firearms onboard, despite an increasing number of attacks where bullets pierced hulls or rocket propelled grenades whooshed overhead.

The reason is twofold: Owners fear pirates would be more likely to continue shooting once on board if they confronted weapons, and the company might be held liable for deaths or injuries inflicted by someone on the vessel.

"There's basically resistance to the idea of armed guards because of the risk of escalation ... possible harm to the crew," said Neil Roberts, a senior technical executive at Lloyd's Market Association, which provides support to underwriters with Lloyd's, the largest maritime insurance marketplace in the world. "Most ship owners don't encourage it." . . .

While the American government supports putting armed guards on ships as one of many preventative strategies, the British have been more reticent, expressing fears over possible court cases and the lack of clear, standard rules of engagement.
. . . .

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The government is refusing transparency on where the bailout money is going

Obama's code of secrecy:

Thus far, the U.S. government has spent, lent or committed $12.8 trillion to the financial rescue. That tab works out to $42,667 per person, or $130,600 per tax filer. It is almost as much as an entire year's worth of gross domestic product, which last year was $14 trillion. The government refuses to inform the public - or even Congress - where all the money is going. . . . .

UPDATE: Of course, Obama is again calling for transparency. No reason to deliver on transparency, but just keep calling for it.

Speaking in Trinidad on Sunday, President Barack Obama said that he'll require "accountability" for the U.S. banks receiving bailout money, and that he would not put taxpayer money into a "black hole." . . . .

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Multiple Victim Public Shootings in Europe

Here is a shooting at a college in Greece covered by the BBC.

A Greek student has died after shooting a fellow student and two passers-by at his college in Athens before turning the gun on himself. . . . .

Here is another multiple victim public shooting in the Netherlands:

A Dutch man has opened fire at a crowded cafe in Rotterdam, killing one person and injuring three others. . . . .

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Useful op-ed on "Obama's bogus gun statistics"

This piece has a lot of useful information.

The Obama administration is fudging when it claims that 90 percent of guns used in crimes in Mexico come from the United States. The bogus statistics are being used as an excuse to push gun control.

The Obama White House and the Mexican government are in agreement that Americans' rights to purchase firearms should be curtailed. Appearing on CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday, ahead of President Obama's trip this week to Mexico, Mexican Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan stated that "reinstituting the [assault weapons ban] could have a profound impact on the number and the caliber of the weapons going down to Mexico."

The ambassador used the 90 percent number to justify new gun bans in the United States. Mr. Obama, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano all have made policy recommendations based on this claim.

The gun controllers have to use phony statistics because the truth does not support their agenda. According to William La Jeunesse and Maxim Lott of Fox News, "only 17 percent of guns found at Mexican crime scenes have been traced to the U.S." On Friday, National Public Radio asked the attorney general about the Fox News analysis. Mr. Holder sidestepped the facts with more misleading data. "It almost doesn't matter if it's 60 percent, 70 percent or 90 percent," Mr. Holder claimed. "The reality is that too many guns are flowing from the United States into Mexico." . . . .

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Small Cars are really dangerous

Fox News has the test results here:

The tests involved head-on crashes between the fortwo and a 2009 Mercedes C Class, the Fit and a 2009 Honda Accord and the Yaris and the 2009 Toyota Camry. The tests were conducted at 40 miles per hour (17 kilometers per liter), representing a severe crash.

In the fortwo collision, the institute said the Smart, which weighs 1,808 lbs, went airborne and turned around 450 degrees after striking the C Class, which weighs nearly twice as much. There was extensive damage to the fortwo's interior and the Smart driver could have faced extensive injuries to the head and legs. There was little damage to the front seat area of the C Class.

Schembri said the test simulated a "rare and extreme scenario" and noted that the fortwo had received solid ratings from the government's crash test program. The fortwo has received top scores from the Insurance Institute in front-end and side crash tests against comparably sized vehicles, but in the front-end tests against the C Class, the institute gave the minicar poor marks.

In the Fit's test, the dummy's head struck the steering wheel through the air bag and showed a high risk of leg injuries. In the vehicle-to-vehicle test, the Fit was rated poor while the Accord's structure held up well.

Honda spokesman Todd Mittleman said the tests involved "unusual and extreme conditions" and noted that all 2009 Honda vehicles had received top scores from the Insurance Institute.

In the Yaris test, the institute said the mini car sustained damage to the door and front passenger area. The driver dummy showed signs of head injuries, a deep gash on the right knee and extensive forces to the neck and right leg.

The Yaris has received good ratings in past front and side testing but received a poor rating in the crash with the Camry. Toyota spokesman John Hanson said the car-to-car test had little relevance to consumers because of its severity. . . . . .

A head to head test doesn't seem particularly like "unusual and extreme conditions." The cars that these mini cars crashed into were not particularly large -- in fact, they are also at best average or small.

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I will be on Jason Lewis' National Talk show at 8 PM EDT for an hour talking about guns and gun control issues.

From 8 to 8:30 tomorrow morning I will be on CSPAN's Washington Journal.

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Concealed Carry Holder Stops Mass Robbery: "Man Killed While Trying to Rob Alcoholics Anonymous Meeting"

The story is here:

Published: April 12, 2009
Columbia (WLTX) - A man who tried to rob people at an Alcoholics Anonymous Meeting is dead after being shot.

Columbia Police say a man in his late teens walked into the meeting at 2015 College Street, the Acoa Club, at 11 p.m. Saturday night with a gun.

They say he demanded two people empty their pockets. That’s when police say a person with a concealed weapons permit shot the man in his chest.

He was taken to Palmetto Richland where he later died.

Witnesses tell officials that a handful of people were in the building at the time of the shooting. . . .

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New post up at Big Hollywood

Can’t These Guys Think of Better Material?: Some Lame Attacks on Guns

It provides a discussion of a couple recent television show episodes that two readers had been nice enough to alert me to.


Government Hypocrisy on Bailouts: "Banks are getting trapped in TARP"

The Washington Times has this editorial on the complete mess that the federal government is making of the banking industry.

Banks that were forced to take bailout money are running into political obstacles that prevent them from repaying it. The White House is unwilling to give up the additional control over the banks - the ability to make operational decisions, fire executives and dictate pay scales - that the bailout funds allow. All this has happened as the Congressional Budget Office has raised the estimated cost of the Troubled Asset Relief Program to taxpayers by almost $200 billion to a total bill of $356 billion.

In many cases, this government dependency is not the fault of the banks because many were being run responsibly. According to Fox News judicial analyst and New Jersey Superior Court Judge Andrew P. Napolitano, banks with no financial problems were forced to sell stock to the government or face the threat of costly and harassing public audits. This happened to banks that had "no bad debt, no credit default swaps, no liquidity problems, and no subprime loans" and didn't want or need any government funds. Judge Napolitano called the government actions what they are: "classic extortion."

On March 27, in a meeting at the White House, President Obama claimed a little rough stuff is necessary because his administration "is the only thing between [the bankers] and the pitchforks," Politico reported. In other words, if the president hadn't quasi-nationalized the banks, mobs would be stringing up financiers from lampposts. Bankers had gone to the president to make their case that regulations on salaries would prevent them from retaining and hiring the best workers. In the meeting, one bank chief executive officer (who has remained anonymous) attempted to explain the obvious: "These are complicated companies. We're competing for talent on an international market." Mr. Obama told the bankers to get over it and then made his quip about pitchforks. . . .

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Glenn Beck's discussion of "How the liberal Media Works," This is too funny

Glenn Beck is great. This would be very amusing if it wasn't so damaging and so bizarre.



Editorial on Pelosi's registration comments

The Washington Times has this:

The speaker picked a television show with a viewership of 4.6 million to float the Democrats' coming gun-control push. Questioned on ABC's "Good Morning America" about the prospect of new gun-control laws now that "it's a Democratic president, a Democratic House," she responded, "We don't want to take their guns away. We want them registered."

Politicians and bureaucrats routinely claim that registration helps solve crimes. If a registered gun is used in a crime and left at the crime scene, registration supposedly lets the police trace the gun back to the criminal. Though this turn of events might work on fictional TV crime shows, it virtually never occurs in real life. Criminals' guns are rarely left at crime scenes. When guns are left behind, it usually is because a crook has been seriously injured or killed and the police are poised to catch him anyway. . . . .

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Mexico says US fuels gun crime

Understandably, Mexicans like to blame the US for the guns. What they should blame the US for is the demand for drugs. The BBC has this.

Mexico's ambassador to the US has urged America to stop the flow of guns and cash that pass into his country, fuelling the country's drug wars.
Arturo Sarukhan said US money and weapons provided the drug cartels with the means to "corrupt, bribe and kill".
President Barack Obama is due to visit Mexico later this week.
More than 6,000 people died last year in Mexico in drug-related violence and Mexico believes 90% of the weapons used by drug cartels come from the US.
US gun lobby groups dispute the figure.

CBS provided this.

“Ninety percent of all weapons we are seizing in Mexico, Bob, are coming from across the United States,” he said, citing the high number of Federal firearms licenses a few miles north of the border. "Just on the Arizona and Texas borders with Mexico alone there are approximately 7,000 FFLs, federal firearms licensees. And weapons bought by the drug syndicates, directly or proxy purchases, are coming from those gun shops."

Schieffer noted that the NRA has taken issue with the statistic, and asked the ambassador where the data originates – a question Sarukhan did not directly answer, although he used the example of a recent weapons seizure in a border town to explain how much ammunition U.S. sellers are directing to drug cartels. . . . .

Of course, it was a Fox News piece that questioned this number, not the NRA. Fox News came up with the 17 percent number, but Schieffer tries to discredit it by referring to the NRA for this general claim.

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Homosexual books and sexually explicit books not listed on Amazon's general rankings list

The left is outraged by this. Yet, it seems to me perfectly natural that a company wants to do what its customers want. If enough of their customers are offended by certain material, why shouldn't the company take that into account.

But as troubling as the unevenness of the policy of un-ranking and de-searching certain titles might be, it's a bit beside the point. It's the action itself that is troubling: making books harder to find, or keeping them off bestseller lists on the basis of their content can't be a good idea.

I don't see why this can't be a good idea.


What Obama didn't get from the budget process

Notice that the parts of the Obama agenda that didn't make it through are ones that would have raised money. The deficit looks like it is going to be even bigger than had been previously announced. The alternative is for a scaling back of his health care and other programs. Here is a recent article from the Associated Press.

To be sure, Obama's plans for global warming and health care are still so fuzzy that it's difficult to translate them into numbers in a congressional budget plan. And rather than muscle Republicans now, it could make sense for Democrats to hold off on detailed assumptions in hopes of building bipartisan consensus later.
Still, the budget proposal that Obama sent to Congress in February did present some difficult choices:
_Fewer itemized tax deductions for the wealthy, providing money to help buy health care insurance for tens of millions of Americans who don't have it.
_Cuts in government payments to insurance companies and health care providers.
_An expensive and highly controversial plan to combat global warming through a "cap-and-trade" scheme that calls for auctioning off pollution permits for nearly $650 billion. The Senate, during budget debate Tuesday, voted to instead devote any revenues from the scheme to help consumers pay higher gasoline and electric bills that energy companies will pass on to them.
Both the House and Senate budget writers, for the most part, ignored all of Obama's big ideas when crafting their fiscal plans, sapping his agenda of momentum.
Indeed, key lawmakers are already playing "taps" over his proposals to chip away at wealthy people's ability to deduct charitable donations and mortgage interest at higher rates.
Instead, they designed a host of so-called reserve funds that give some modest procedural help to Obama initiatives but do nothing concrete to really advance them.
As a result, lawmakers can cast symbolic votes in favor of Obama's agenda — even if those votes don't say anything about the depth of that commitment. In fact, they can at the same time say they are voting for Obama's agenda even as they distance themselves from key elements of it, like his tax increases or the higher energy bills that would result from his global warming curbs.
The detail-free approach protects lawmakers from difficult votes. Its defenders also say it provides lawmakers with leeway when writing follow-up legislation. . . . .

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"Campus guns bill gaining support in Texas House"

The Houston Chronicle has this:

Legislation allowing state university students and employees to carry their concealed handguns on campus appears to have enough pledged support from lawmakers to pass the full Texas House.
The bill would prohibit public universities across Texas from creating rules that forbid concealed handgun license holders from carrying their pistols into a classroom, but it would allow private institutions to exempt themselves.
Chances for passage in the House — if it gets there — look strong, as 76 members have signed on to support the bill, authored by Rep. Joe Driver, R-Garland.
The House Public Safety Committee already has signed off on the measure. Now, it needs to get scheduled for debate in the full House.
“State after state after state have said no to it … and this committee just chose to ignore them,” said Marsha McCartney, president of the North Texas Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. “I’m not usually surprised about what goes on in Austin, but I am terribly disappointed.”
In the Texas Senate, 13 members have pledged support for an identical measure sponsored by Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio.
If passed and signed into law, it would mark a rare legislative victory for advocates of allowing concealed firearms on campus. Similar proposals have failed in 19 other states since 2008, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. . . .

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Trimming back on gun free zones at Universities in Missouri?

The legislation is moving forward:

University of Missouri system President Gary Forsee and Missouri State President Mike Nietzel have both denounced legislation approved by the state House that would allow concealed weapons to be brought onto college campuses. . . . .

Legislation, which received initial House approval Wednesday, would lower the minimum age for obtaining a concealed-carry permit to 21 and lift the ban on concealed weapons at public colleges and universities. The bill needs another House vote to move to the Senate. . . . .

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