JEFFERSON CITY _ In a surprise move, Lt. Gov. Roger Wilson broke ranks with the governor's office Wednesday on the concealed weapons bill.
The lieutenant governor split with Gov. Mel Carnahan on whether Missouri voters or the legislature will decide if the state's residents should be allowed to carry concealed guns.
Carnahan has said he would veto the bill if it reached his desk and that he preferred it be submitted to Missouri voters.
But Wilson, a fellow Democrat, said "if it could be stricter, then I would hope that...both sides would find something that the governor could sign."
The House had stripped from the bill a provision that would have put the question to a vote of the people. When the Senate deadlocked on a motion to rejecting that change, Wilson was called on to break the tie,
Wilson voted against the motion, despite Carnahan's clearly stated opposition to concealed weapons legislation without the referendum.
That triggered an immediate filibuster by Sen. J.B. "Jet" Banks, D-St. Louis City, to prevent expected Senate approval of the House version without the referendum.
As the filibuster continued, Wilson was called into a meeting with the governor's chief of staff, Marc Farinella.
Aides would not disclose details of the meeting, but the governor's spokesman, Chris Sifford, said the governor's office had made its disappointment known to Wilson.
"The governor is extremely disappointed that the lieutenant governor would oppose the governor on this issue," Sifford said.
Wilson said his vote "was not a slap at the governor in any way," but acknowledged that his efforts were not supported by the governor.
Wilson called it a "little difference of opinion" with the governor.
The former Columbia senator said he did not oppose the concept of allowing concealed weapons, but felt the licensing requirements should be stricter than the proposal before the Senate.
By early Wednesday night, both sides in the Senate agreed to put the bill aside until the following morning, thus ending the filibuster.