Letter to the Editor, St. Louis Post Dispatch, January 16, 2024
Per the article, Missouri Republicans again pushing for law allowing guns on public transit, bills have been introduced that would allow individuals with a concealed carry permit to bring firearms on public transit buses, vans, trains and other spaces owned or operated by public transit providers. While intended to help improve safety, it’s imperative Missouri legislators and residents understand this is not a viable solution.
Much like Amtrak and airplanes – where guns are not allowed – the risk is unthinkable for all passengers and operators should there be an accidental discharge or planned attack in the confinement of closed spaces found on transit vehicles.
Further complicating the issue is the fact that the MetroLink system spans both Missouri and Illinois and is governed by a Federal Compact which prohibits Bi-State Development employees and contractors from carrying weapons that can cause bodily harm.
The passage of proposed legislation would also have a profound negative financial influence on rural transit providers statewide. Because their riders are largely senior citizens or individuals with physical, intellectual and developmental disabilities, they receive special grant funding needed to operate. Allowing firearms would be in direct violation of their local contracts and losing the associated funding would translate into a significant loss of local dollars used to draw down much-needed federal funds. It would drastically impede the ability to provide access.
These realities cannot be ignored. CMT, the Missouri Public Transit Association and countless others urge Missouri legislators to deny these bills. Passage would be detrimental.
Kimberly Cella, executive director of both Citizens for Modern Transit and the Missouri Public Transit Association.