The Missouri Senate chamber sits empty on Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Jefferson City, Missouri, after senators adjourned for the day and announced they would not reconvene in a full session until at least March 30 because of concerns over the new coronavirus. Officials in state capitols across the country have been announcing new precautions intended to guard against the spread of the disease. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. (Photo by David A. Lieb) JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri state senator from Joplin wants to create a group of armed volunteers in a move that he says is intended to protect gun ownership. Sen. Bill White, of Joplin, says the governor could call up the group during large statewide emergencies. White acknowledges the group, which would be called the minutemen of the state, would rarely be used. But he says it would protect gun ownership because the volunteers would use their own guns, ammunition and supplies. The equipment would become the property of the state, meaning the federal government could not regulate the group. Critics note Missouri already has volunteer state forces, such as the Missouri National Guard.