Rep. Nick Marshall is angry about new security measures in the Missouri Capitol.
Visitors used to be able to enter and exit through numerous unlocked doors without passing through any visible security measures. Now, they have to navigate metal detectors and X-ray scanners. And posted prominently on every door is a sign saying firearms are prohibited.
Marshall, a Parkville Republican, believes the security protocols are an infringement on freedom, declaring on Facebook that “this is not how citizens should be greeted when entering the people’s house, their Missouri State Capitol.”
So he’s taking matters into his own hands.
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Posted on the door of his Capitol office, and on his Facebook page, is a sign that says, “Any constituent with a CCW that was refused to carry into the Capitol may borrow a firearm from Representative Marshall for the duration of the visit.”
A Missouri Capitol police officer told The Star on Thursday that state law allows elected officials to carry a concealed firearm in the Capitol, as well as legislative staff who have a valid conceal carry permit. The general public is not allowed.
State law says concealed carry of a firearm can be restricted in certain public buildings as long as the restriction is “clearly identified by signs posted at the entrance to the restricted area.”
Marshall didn’t respond to requests for comment Thursday. A spokesman for the Missouri Department of Public Safety, which oversees the Missouri Capitol Police, could not be reached for comment.
State Rep. Don Phillips, a Kimberling City Republican and chairman of the House Crime Prevention and Public Safety Committee, said he thinks Marshall posted the sign just to make a point, but “knowing Nick, if someone came by and asked for a gun, he’d probably give it to them.”
Phillips said he and Marshall discussed the issue Wednesday.
“He and I are friends, we just have a difference of opinion on this,” Phillips said.
Phillips, who served as a state trooper for 28 years, said he supports the new security protocols.
“I think they’re a great idea,” he said. “With the number of people who visit the Capitol every day, I just think they deserve peace of mind.”
As for guns in the Capitol, Phillips said he would be more comfortable if there was a total ban, including legislators and staff.
Rep. Stacey Newman, a St. Louis County Democrat, said she was “greatly disturbed by Rep. Marshall’s offer to give guns to his constituents in the state Capitol, purposefully averting our new security restrictions and endangering everyone in the building, including legislators and staff. I am appalled that even my personal security is of no concern to my colleague.”
The new Capitol security measures were implemented at the request of Gov. Eric Greitens. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, more than half of state capitols across the country use metal detectors. In Kansas, Capitol visitors must pass through metal detectors but are still allowed to carry a concealed firearm.
Marshall said on Facebook that he’ll do “everything in my power to reverse this sad and troubling new policy that was not authorized by the General Assembly.”