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Missouri Lawmakers Override Vetoes On Abortion, Guns

Abortion rights supporters protested at the Missouri Capitol last week in Jefferson City. Jeff Roberson/AP hide caption

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Jeff Roberson/AP

Abortion rights supporters protested at the Missouri Capitol last week in Jefferson City.

Jeff Roberson/AP

Missouri's Republican-led Legislature overruled vetoes by Gov. Jay Nixon to push through measures expanding gun rights and mandating a 72-hour waiting period for women seeking abortions.

The state House voted to defeat the veto by a 177-44 margin late Wednesday. A Democratic filibuster was then prevented in the state Senate by a 23-7 vote.

The state's waiting period for abortion will be among the strictest in the U.S. — South Dakota and Utah also have 72-hour waiting periods, though South Dakota excludes weekends and state holidays.

The Associated Press quoted differing viewpoints on the waiting period from female representatives in the state House.

"You get a couple more days to think about this pregnancy, think about where it's going, you may change your mind," says Republican Kathie Conway of St. Charles.

But Democratic Rep. Judy Morgan of Kansas City said the move is "designed to demean and shame a woman in an effort to change her mind."

In a session that lasted into the early morning hours Thursday, lawmakers also overturned a veto on legislation to allow teachers to carry guns in school and residents to obtain open-carry permits.

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The veto was defeated by a two-thirds majority. State law already allows school employees with "concealed carry" permits to have their weapons on campus. This new legislation will enforce training guidelines through the state's Department of Public Safety for any teacher or employee wishing to carry a concealed gun or pepper spray. After the training, the teacher or employee will be designated as an official "school protection officer."

The Washington Post reported the measure also lowers the age from 21 to 19 for those seeking a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

Both pieces of legislation, on abortion and gun rights, are due to go into effect in about a month.