Missouri workers could keep gun in locked cars

House-endorsed bill also increases sentences for unlawful use of a weapon convictions

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - The Missouri House has advanced legislation changing weapons punishments and guaranteeing state workers the right to keep firearms in their vehicles on state property when they're on the job.

The vehicles would have to be locked, with all firearms kept out of sight.

The legislation applies to state employees working for the legislative, executive or judicial branches.

Amendments added to the bill Tuesday also increasing sentences for unlawful use of a weapon convictions. According to the bill's language, firing a weapon could result in life in prison.

An additional amendment makes it a felony to have a firearm while "knowingly in possession of controlled substances."

House members gave the bill first-round approval Tuesday. It needs another affirmative vote to move to the Senate.

Sponsoring House member Jeannie Riddle, a Republican from Mokane, says the measure ensures the right of state workers to defend themselves.

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