Missouri governor blocks bill to fund gun-detection equipment in schools

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Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) vetoed a bill Friday that would fund a safety initiative for gun-detection equipment in schools.

The $2.5 million grant proposal Parson rejected was one of 173 line-item vetoes he announced when he was signing a roughly $50 billion state budget, The Associated Press reported.

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) vetoed a similar measure in May. The company behind both proposals is ZeroEyes, a firm founded by military veterans after the deadly 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

The AP noted other companies offer similar gun surveillance systems, but the Kansas bill included specific criteria that ZeroEyes’ competitors don’t meet. The Missouri bill was less specific. 

The “use of the veto pen” is not something Parson exercises eagerly, but his vetoes are meant to represent “the elimination of unnecessary pet projects and the protection of the taxpayer dime,” he said in a statement released Friday. The governor added that he made approximately $1 billion worth of cuts to the state budget proposal.

Parson told lawmakers the legislation “appears to describe a specific vendor’s platform,” and that the state should follow purchasing laws instead of contracting “with a particular vendor” in a letter explaining his veto, The AP reported.

Kelly had also rejected the Kansas legislation out of concern it would provide ZeroEyes the exclusive opportunity to be the seller. The new detection systems were laudable, but “we should not hamstring districts by limiting this funding to services provided by one company,” she said.

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