JEFFERSON CITY _ A claim by a senator that he got a call threatening his life has sent concealed weapons legislation into limbo.
Amid applause Thursday (May 11) evening the Senate sent the bill, which would allow Missourians to secretly carry guns, to a conference committee, but in a fashion that technically prohibits the House from taking but the bill.
"I will not be intimidated," said Sen. Jet Banks, the Majority Floor Leader. Banks, who controls what is debated on the floor, said he was planning on allowing the bill to be voted on.
But when Banks received the call Wednesday night he decided he would take a stand against it.
Banks said the person who made the call identified himself by name, said he supported the concealed weapons bill and has been in Jefferson City lobbying.
Col. Fred Mills, Highway Patrol Superintendent said Banks reported the call Thursday morning. Mills said they plan to interview the person Banks identified as making the call.
Mills said he would not characterize it as a death threat, although he wouldn't divulge specific details. Officers were assigned to the visitors gallery of the Senate Thursday, Mills said.
But Banks said he still felt threatened.
"I have always said that anybody could walk into the senate gallery and shoot anyone of us," he said.
When the bill's sponsor Sen. Harold Caskey was told about the call, his first instinct was to let the bill die, he said.
"I don't think we can send a message to let people use tactics like these to their business, whether or not they agree or disagree," said Caskey, D-Butler. "My decision to sent the bill to conference is to not let them kill the bill."
By sending the bill to conference, it stays alive. But with only one day left and sentiment growing against the bill, it might never be voted on.
One gun lobbyist charged Banks' with bluffing.
"What Banks is doing is trying to lob us in with extremists," said Tim Oliver, a Columbia private investigator and lobbyist for an umbrella group called the Missouri Legislative Issues Council, or MOLIC. "We are not extremists. We are not white supremists. We are civil libertarians who have been victims of violent crime."
Gov. Mel Carnahan said he wanted the bill to be filibustered, but has made no secret that if it came to his desk, he would veto it.