A state Senate package of bills that would allow gun owners to carry concealed weapons in churches and schools has put Michigan on the national map in the high-powered debate over guns.
The story was picked up in recent hours by several national news organizations – USA Today, MSN News, Fox News and The Hill – and it is currently the No. 1-trending news item on Facebook.
In the wake of the mass shooting at a Baptist church in Texas on Sunday that left 26 people dead and 20 injured, Michigan Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof (R-West Olive) decided to pounce, pushing for concealed weapons in gun-free zones such as schools, churches, day care centers, bars, college dorms and stadiums.
“Some have said it’s insensitive to bring up these issues now, but I feel quite the opposite,” he told a standing room-only crowd that gathered for a Senate Government Operations Committee meeting on Tuesday. “The recent events will allow us to look at how we can deter those who want to do harm. And responsible, well-trained, licensed concealed-pistol holders can be one of those deterrents.”
Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed similar legislation in 2012 just days after the Sandy Hook massacre in Connecticut that killed 20 elementary school students and six staff. Meekhof said he has talked with Snyder about the new legislation and that he’s “not necessarily” on board with it, according to the Detroit Free Press.
The new legislation would allow individual schools and businesses to opt out of the proposed provisions, allowing them to maintain their facilities as gun-free zones.
“We’re not going to pre-empt a private property owner’s right to post for a weapon-free zone,” Meekhof spokeswoman Amber McCann told the Free Press.