Traverse City Record-Eagle

December 29, 2012

Veto puts gun extremists in their place — for now


---- — What reasonable Michigander is not relieved that Gov. Rick Snyder has refused to sign the concealed weapons bill Republican legislators ramrodded to passage in the wee hours of last week's lame-duck session?

And who can be surprised that Snyder, who seemed ready only a week ago to acquiesce to virtually any nonsense GOP lawmakers could dish up, decided that now was not the time to be seen cozying up to his party's pro-gun militants?

SB0059 would have allowed licensed gun owners who underwent additional training to carry concealed weapons into schools, churches and other places where they're currently forbidden. The vetoed legislation also would have banned gun owners from carrying their weapon openly in those venues.

We may never know whether the governor would have mustered the resolve to face down pro-gun lawmakers if thuis month's schoolhouse massacre in Newtown, Conn., hadn't made the veto a no-brainer.

But we're heartened by reports that, even before the shooting, Snyder was lobbying for an amendment empowering schools and churches to opt out of the new provision. The governor's spokesperson cited the Legislature's failure to accommodate that reasonable request in a statement explaining his decision to withhold his signature.

One would think that the Newtown tragedy would give any lawmaker pause about rushing forward with legislation that makes it easier to carry firearms through the schoolhouse door.

But state Sen. Mike Green, R-Mayville, who sponsored the bill Snyder vetoed, promised within hours that he would reintroduce it in the next legislative session, adding that he just didn't "see a way" to make the changes Snyder requested.

Go ahead, Sen. Green. Make our day.

We could be premature, of course, in concluding that the gun lobby's influence has crested at last. The furor over the deaths of 20 schoolchildren may fade; the NRA may bend feckless legislators to its will yet again.

And Gov. Snyder may decide, in a less raw political moment, that there's no percentage in antagonizing Republicans who are certain the brave teachers and administrators of Sandy Hook would have saved more lives if only they'd been packing weapons of their own.

But we suspect the time has passed when lawmakers in this or any state will be able to subordinate the safety of kindergartners to the prerogatives of gun owners. ...

We hope ... Snyder will follow up ... with a more proactive review of the legislation pro-gun lawmakers here have adopted in the last decade, with an eye to measuring its impact on the public safety.

That, surely, is the least (that) responsible state leaders owe their constituents ...

Detroit Free Press