A Michigan State Senate committee advanced legislation to allow gun owners with special permits to enter “gun-free” areas with their concealed firearms. This proposed law would effectively end “gun-free” zones in Michigan.
The Republican-led Senate Judiciary Committee passed the set of bills on Oct. 13 with a vote of 4-1. It will now go to the Michigan Senate floor for a vote. If approved, gun owners would be able to apply for permits that will allow them to carry concealed weapons in schools, child care centers, bars, churches, hospitals and other public spaces, the Oakland Press reports.
The new laws would forbid individuals from openly carrying their firearms in these zones, according to Detroit News.
Supporters say “gun-free” zones attract mass shootings and that gunmen will think twice before attacking a public space if they know that someone could be armed, The Detroit News reports.
“We have a constitutional right to defend ourselves, and there’s no exception clause associated with it,” said Republican State Sen. Patrick Colbeck of Canton. “The data clearly shows that we have increased public safety when people are allowed to carry guns.”
“This legislation will allow more citizens the ability to protect themselves and their families in these areas,” Republican State Sen. Mike Green of Mayville told the Oakland Press.
Similar legislation was proposed in 2012 but was vetoed by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder days after Adam Lanza massacred 26 people — 20 of them children — in Newtown, Connecticut, according to the Oakland Press.
The new legislation has been opposed by school officials, clergy and the group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
“Whether they’re open carry or conceal carry, I don’t think guns have a place in schools at all,” group member Susan Bailey-Carmen tells Michigan Radio.
Michigan Association of Schools Board Executive Director Don Wotruba is in favor of banning people from openly carrying guns in schools, the Oakland Press reports. He also thinks “moving to a concealed carry system only hides the potential danger. We do not believe that student safety will be increased.”