Traverse City Record-Eagle

Michigan

March 15, 2013

Lawmaker: Ban openly carried guns in schools

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan could no longer let people openly carry guns into schools under a proposal pushed Thursday by a lawmaker and the state's largest teachers' union, which argued a loophole must be closed three months after the massacre at a Connecticut elementary school.

"A gun-free zone is not truly gun-free," Rep. Andy Schor, D-Lansing, said during a Capitol news conference. "As a gun owner, I recognize the importance of the Second Amendment. But in this case, allowing openly armed civilians to roam the halls of our schools is a recipe for disaster."

Under existing state law, people with concealed weapons permits may openly carry guns in schools, hospitals, sports arenas and other gun-free zones. But it is illegal to carry concealed weapons in those places.

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder in December vetoed legislation — passed hours before the Sandy Hook Elementary School attack — that would have allowed concealed weapons in gun-free zones and prohibited openly carried weapons. He said he wanted schools to be able to ban guns completely from their premises if they saw fit.

Schor's bill was quietly introduced in January and has received no hearing. It also would add public libraries to the list of pistol-free zones.

"I can think of few things that would generate more panic in an elementary school full of kids than to have someone walking down the hall with a gun on their hip because they are hypersensitive to this sort of thing," said Steve Cook, president of the Michigan Education Association.

In response to a GOP-sponsored bill that would make an exception to the ban on concealed firearms in schools, House Speaker Jase Bolger, R-Marshall, said last month he did not think it was the right time for gun-related legislation so soon after the Newtown shooting.

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