Pro-Gun Bills Pass Senate Committee

Nov 8, 2017

Michigan Senate Chamber - file photo
Credit Cheyna Roth / Michigan Public Radio Network

(MPRN-Lansing) In the wake of another mass shooting, the state Legislature took up bills to expand the state’s concealed carry laws. 

Legislation would let people who get a special license carry a concealed weapon in places where they’re currently banned: places like schools and daycare centers.

Groups like Moms Demand Action gathered at a Senate committee hearing on the legislation to express their concerns that this will make gun free zones unsafe.

Catherine Collins of Lansing came to the meeting with her son. She said she’s always had opinions on gun laws, but after having her son, she decided to become more active.

“Between Vegas and Texas it sort of spurred that I need to no longer just sit on the sidelines and actually stand up for what I believe in for his safety as well as everybody else’s,” she said.

But advocates say they’re trying to keep people safe. Bill sponsor, Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof (R-West Olive) said a majority of mass shootings take place in gun free zones.

“It’s a target rich environment for people who don’t abide by the law,” he said. “And people should have the ability to protect themselves, wherever they are.”

An amendment to a bill would also prevent people from open carrying in those areas. Jason Gillman is with Michigan Open Carry. He said people should to be able to do both.

“We want people to carry how they feel most comfortable. If that’s concealed great, and if that’s how you carry, then you shouldn’t be prohibited from going into these same areas,” he said.

Another bill in the Senate would prevent school districts, libraries, and certain other areas from passing gun related regulations.

Governor Rick Snyder has vetoed similar legislation. Meekhof said he has talked to the governor about the bills, but the governor’s “not necessarily” on board yet.

The governor would like schools to be able to opt out. So far the only opting out schools will be able to do is with teachers and other employees – they’ll be able to prohibit them from bringing weapons to school, even with the enhanced license.