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Missouri lawmakers talk about Capitol safety

Published On: Apr 17 2013 06:47:35 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 18 2013 06:51:43 PM CDT

Lawmakers they want to see tighter security at Missouri's capitol.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -

Security is a question for lawmakers at the Capitol in Jefferson City as well. Thousands of people are expected Thursday for a gun rally just two days after thousands attended a Medicaid expansion rally in the rotunda.

ABC 17 News was in the Capitol for hours Wednesday and did not see one Capitol police officer. Every senator and representative we talked with says security can be tighter. Some say even with more armed guards in the hallways, it may not be enough to make them feel safe.

“It would be a legislator turkey shoot if someone was in the upper gallery,” Representative Rick Brattin (R)-Harrisonville says.

That’s how Brattin describes the Missouri House chambers if someone had a gun upstairs. Brattin says he does feel safe in other aspects of the Capitol, but he makes sure he doesn't rely solely on Capitol police for his safety. That's why he carries a gun and keeps it loaded at all times when he’s in the Capitol. That’s in thanks to a law that allows lawmakers to carry guns.

Brattin believes the problem is, there are no security measures to make sure visitors don't have guns. Some lawmakers believe extra security measures like metal detectors aren't the answer.

“We had a couple thousand people here yesterday, we'll have a couple thousand people here tomorrow. It's important that everybody feel welcome in the Capitol, it's important they don't feel any barriers coming to the Capitol and have access to the Capitol,” Representative Stephen Webber (D)-Columbia explains.

Webber believes more guards would be the best solution. But Brattin tells us he and other lawmakers are trying to come up with active shooter protocol. Nothing has been implemented just yet. So Brattin carries a gun to make him feel safe.

“On the normal days that we don't have the rallies and things of that nature, Capitol police are down in the duty hut,” Brattin says.

Lawmakers believe if someone were to enter the Capitol with the intent to shoot, many would be hurt before authorities could arrive.

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