Controversial new gun laws take effect

Springfield, Mo. -- Missouri Governor Jay Nixon signed into law two separate gun measures aimed to keep public schools safer.  The first is a three-part law that deals with teaching kids about gun safety and requires schools to train for active-shooter events.  While the second addresses school resource officers.

State Senate Republican Dan Brown, an active member of the National Rifle Association, authored the measure that allows schools to teach the NRA Eddie Eagle Gunsafe Program to first graders.  It also enables districts to apply for financial grants to do so.  Senator Brown wanted the state to mandate the course, but the approved measure gives school administrators that option.

"Teachers have a limited amount of time outside the classroom," said Curtis Chesick, an administrator at Ozark Public Schools.

"We have bigger and more important concerns that have been identified by parents and administrators," he said.

The topic of guns in schools took center stage following the massive shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut last year.  Brown says that was the motivation for his bill. 

While the Eddie Eagle education is optional, the law also issues a requirement for schools.  Under the measure, every school will be required to perform at least one active-shooter drill per school year.  The drills will need to be performed by law enforcement officers.

Another piece of legislation centers on school resource officers and gives them the authority to enforce laws in schools.  It also applies to any possible crimes on school busses or at school-sanctioned events. Crocker, Missouri hired its first school officer earlier this year.

"As soon as Sandy Hook happened, I was back on point showing the school, we really need to start working on something here, get somebody in school," said Crocker Police Chief Chris Twitchell.

The law Brown penned also addresses the issue of conceal carry permits.  The permits will now be issued at sheriffs' offices around the state rather than by driver's license clerks.  That change follows the Department of Revenue Scandal during which it was revealed the names of conceal carry holders had been shared with outside agencies multiple times.