House passes bill to expand gun rights

Licensed gun owners would be allowed to carry guns into churches, bars and nonsecure government buildings under legislation approved in the state House on Tuesday.

House Bill 875, sponsored by Rep. Rick Jasperse, R-Jasper, passed 119-56, largely along party lines. It now goes to the Senate.

The bill still allows bars and churches to ban guns, although local governments would be required to allow firearms into nearly any taxpayer-funded facility if no security is present.

HB 875 would also make it no longer a crime for permit holders to carry weapons onto college campuses. Instead, those licensed, who are at least 21 and have passed a background check, would face a $100 fine but no criminal charge if caught.

Local boards of education would also be allowed to designate a teacher or administrator at each school to be armed.

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