Sense of Community

March, June, September, December

From poverty concerns to major policy decisions, this series dives beyond the headlines to provide in-depth coverage of issues facing people and organizations in the Ozarks. KSMU's team of reporters combine for 10 stories each quarter, to air the final weeks of March, June, September and December.

KSMU file photo / KSMU

Currently, Missouri law gives state colleges and universities the right to decide who can carry a firearm on campus—and who cannot.

Representative Jered Taylor, a Republican from Nixa, is sponsoring a bill that would change that.

H.B. 1936 would allow Conceal and Carry permit holders to take their weapons on state campuses—including students—and it would ban state institutions of higher education from stopping them.

“The reason I’m doing it this way is because they have failed to act,” Taylor said.

(Photo: Randy Stewart)

“You know, I get to travel and do this and show off and dress up like a cowboy—and get paid for it! It’s a wonderful life.”

Mike Smith / KSMU-FM

Brenda Keltner was proprietor of The Willard Barber Shop from 2005 until her retirement on Saturday, March 3, 2018.

Brenda Keltner, a.k.a. "Brenda the Barber," is a beekeeper and raises cattle--but is also known in Willard, Missouri, as an unabashed advocate of the 2nd Amendment and the right to carry concealed firearms. 

KSMU’S Mike Smith visited Keltner in her barbershop the day before her retirement for the KSMU Sense of Community Series on Firearms in the Ozarks.

Fairview Facebook Page

Miles out a hilly, state highway near West Plains, parents are dropping their kids off near the doors of a K-8 public school where several staff members—including teachers—are wearing concealed firearms.

Fairview School is one of five, rural, satellite schools that feed into the West Plains High School (and it’s where this reporter's child has been attending for several years). 

Neither the kids nor their parents know who’s carrying a gun here.

The policy has been in place for about five years.  Aaron Sydow is the superintendent.

Michele Skalicky

This week on KSMU’s Sense of Community Series, we’ll look at various aspects of firearms here in the Ozarks—from schools that already have armed teachers to the craft of firearm engraving.  This segment focuses on local efforts toward what advocates call “common sense” gun laws.

Moms Demand Action is a national group formed after 20 children and six teachers were killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in Newtown, CT in 2012.