By Brendan O’Brien
(Reuters) – Missouri Governor Jay Nixon vetoed a bill on Monday that would have allowed public school districts to designate certain teachers and administrators as armed protection officers.
The legislation would have required a teacher or administrator to have a concealed carry permit and go through special weapons training before being allowed to be armed at school.
Nixon, a Democrat, said in a statement that he supported placing law enforcement officers in schools but could not “condone putting firearms in the hands of educators who should be focused on teaching our kids.”
The bill passed the Republican-controlled House by a vote of 111-28 and the Republican-led Senate with a 21-7 vote, enough for the two-thirds needed for a veto override.
“This governor continues to prove he is disengaged with the Legislature, is unwilling to offer any fresh ideas, and vetoes good public policy,” Republican state Senator Tom Dempsey said in a statement.
Republicans lawmakers said a decision whether to override the governor’s veto would be made when they reconvene in September.
The mass shooting in 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 first-graders and six adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, sparked a national debate about whether to arm teachers.
Teachers in several states, including Texas and Ohio, can be armed in schools if they get approval from local school districts.
(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Peter Cooney)
[Image: Missouri Governor Jay Nixon participates in a debate with David Spence at the Holiday Inn Executive Center in Columbia, Missouri on Sept. 21, 2012. By Sarah Conard for Reuters]