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What timing. The Michigan state legislature rammed this ALEC-written legislation through in a midnight lame-duck session, the night before a gunman killed all those teachers and children in Sandy Hook. The spineless and shameless Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to sign it.
And you know what? If they really believe their insane rationale, how come you're not allowed to carry a gun in Michigan's state capitol, or when you visit a legislator's office? Maybe some brave reporter (yeah, right) should ask them:
Carrying concealed weapons into schools, churches and stadiums is against the law in Michigan, but it might not be for much longer.
Lawmakers in both the House and Senate approved Senate Bill 59 to allow concealed weapons in several gun-free zones Thursday, as well as doing away with county boards currently overseeing concealed pistol licensing.
The Michigan House and Senate voted Thursday to allow concealed fire arms for licensed carriers in previously restricted areas, including churches and schools.
"If you have pistol free zones they are actually mass murderer empowerment zones," said Steve Dulan, attorney for the Michigan Coalition of Responsible Gun Owners, who represents sportsman clubs throughout Michigan backing the bill. "If you actually look at the history, even over the past 10 years in the U.S., you find that maybe all but one mass shooting has occurred in a so-called gun free zone."
Michigan law currently prohibits concealed weapons in schools, churches, day cares, hospitals, dorms, casinos and any public entertainment venue able to hold more than 2,500 people. Violators can be charged a civil infraction with a $500 fine and six-month concealed pistol license suspension. Repeat offenses can lead to a four-year felony, $5,000 fine and concealed pistol license being revoked.
Under the new law schools and private establishments would be able to voluntarily remain pistol-free zones, if desired.
Dulan says creating gun-free zones disarms private citizens to any criminals who don't obey the laws in the first place.
"There is a complete logical fallacy that there are no guns in a gun free zone," Dulan said. "It's as ridiculous as the drug-free school zone signs. No one believes those either ... What you are doing in this case is disarming law biding people."
Drug-free school zones have double and triple penalties for those caught selling drugs. And yes, drug dealers avoid them for that reason. And I hope the gun lobbyists are paying Mr. Dulan enough money that he can use the dollar bills to WIPE THE BLOOD OFF HIS HANDS.
Michigan has 351,599 concealed weapons permits issued statewide, according to a state report dated Dec. 1. Those certified carriers would need an additional nine hours training and 94 additional rounds at the firing range to qualify to concealed carry in gun-free zones, the bill states.
Language in the concealed carry reform bill would eliminate county review boards made up of representatives from the Michigan State Police, county prosecutor's office and county sheriff's department, likely streamlining the process.
The Michigan Sheriff's Association has been one of the largest opponents of the bill. Northern Michigan sheriffs see the bill as a burden.
"It would make the sheriff the sole person on the board, and if I decide in my conscience a person should not have a (concealed carry permit) for what ever reason, then that person has the ability to appeal that in circuit court to the point where I could be fined for not giving a (permit)," said Charlevoix County Sheriff Don Schneider, who opposes the bill. "In no way do I want that dumped on us. It is just not right. You are going to cause every sheriff to say: 'You want a CCW? Fine, because I'm not going to get sued.'"
Emmet County Sheriff Pete Wallin also has issues with doing away with Concealed Weapons Licensing Boards and has contacted local lawmakers to voice his concerns.
"I just say if it's not broke, why try to fix it?" Wallin said. "It is nice to have other input on it. I don't want the sole responsibility, and I think it works just fine."