Posted 5 years ago on Dec. 15, 2012, 7:51 p.m. EST by mideast
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The deadly school shooting in Connecticut came less than 24 hours after Michigan lawmakers passed legislation that allows those with concealed pistol licenses to carry guns into schools and other once forbidden places.
Proponents of the legislation said if the bill is signed into law, it will give people the opportunity to respond to crimes and possibly stop a similar situation.
“This kind of tragedy is hard to process, but if one person – a faculty member or a parent – could legally carry, at least it could have limited some of the mayhem,” said Rob Harris, media director for Michigan Open Carry Inc., on Friday. “This legislation has to be passed to at least have a fighting chance against the evil in this world.”
The Michigan Legislature passed Senate Bill 59 on Thursday, which tweaks the concealed weapons law by allowing gun owners who receive eight additional hours of training to carry their weapons in formerly gun-free areas, such as day care centers, schools, hospitals, churches and stadiums and bars.
There about 350,000 concealed pistol license holders throughout the state who would be eligible for the additional training, Harris said.
The bill sponsored by state Sen. Mike Green, R-Mayville, also states that schools, including public universities, and privately owned buildings could choose to prohibit guns if owners desire.
The Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners also backed the legislation. Green is a member of the organization’s board.
“We were fully behind it because what happens when you disarm law abiding people is there is nobody to stop the crazy people,” said Steve Dulan, spokesman for the organization.
Dulan said most gun owners are responsible.
“Many gun owners take their guns with them to the shopping mall where there are kids,” Dulan said. “Schools will be no different than shopping malls.”
It is unclear if Gov. Rick Snyder will sign the bill into law.
“The governor said that this bill was going to be already going through a careful review and analysis,” said Snyder’s spokeswoman, Sara Wurfel.
Snyder conveyed deep condolences, thoughts and prayers to the victims, families and all those in Connecticut, Wurfel said.
Officials at Plymouth Canton Community Schools had not read the legislation Friday, but said they doubted they would allow guns at the district’s schools.
“We are educators, not police,” said Frank Ruggirello, spokesman for the district.
The district, Ruggirello said, works closely with police to make sure the schools are safe as well as drill students on lockdown procedures.
“It is a sad day for all of education when these things continue to happen in our schools,” Ruggirello said about the school shooting in Connecticut.
A Plymouth Canton teacher was arrested several years ago for having a gun on school grounds, Ruggirello said.
Michigan Education Association officials said the school shooting tragedy reinforces a need for discussion on school safety and Senate Bill 59 is not the answer.
“Those who think that students and teachers will be safer with more guns in our schools are just plain wrong,” said MEA President Steve Cook in a written statement. “Thinking that teachers should carry weapons and fire on threats is a recipe for even more death—not safety.”
Many question the legislation and whether schools, day care centers, stadiums and churches will be safer if people are allowed to carry guns there.
“Who in their right mind needs to carry a gun in a school, day care center or stadium,” said Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton, who is also president of the Michigan Prosecuting Attorneys Association. “It doesn’t make sense to me and many of us believe in the right to bare arms.”