Gun Control, Michigan Republicans — February 21, 2013 at 7:17 pm

Michigan GOP introduce law to let teachers carry guns in class, tea party group to give free classes


Because with only 1,565,390 students in class, what could POSSIBLY go wrong?

It’s hard to say which is the most freakish element of this story. Is it that some Michigan Republicans want to allow concealed weapons to be carried in our children’s classrooms? Or is it that a tea party PAC is offering free gun classes to get teachers trained so that they can?

Let’s take the legislation first. House Bill 4098 (pdf) adds this section to Public Act 372:

A teacher, administrator, or other employee of a school is not precluded from carrying a concealed pistol in that school or on that school property if the chief executive officer of the school has authorized that individual to carry a concealed pistol in that school or on that school property. The chief executive officer shall condition his or her approval upon the requirement that the teacher, administrator, or other employee successfully complete training considered appropriate by the chief executive officer. The training may be in addition to the training required under Section 5J . If an individual authorized to carry a concealed pistol under this subparagraph does not carry the pistol on his or her person, that pistol shall be placed in a container that is securely locked to prevent anyone other than that individual from gaining unauthorized access to that pistol.

This is a kneejerk response to the Newtown massacre, of course. It is, of course, insane. The thought of teachers packing heat in our state’s classrooms is a terrifying thought. We have, according to the State of Michigan, 1,565,390 K-12 students in our state’s classrooms. It doesn’t take a very active imagination to conjure up all sorts of realistic scenarios where that gun becomes separated from the teacher and kills someone. It gets accidentally dropped. It gets snatched by a student. It goes off unexpectedly. There’s a fight between teachers or a teacher and student. That’s just the easy-to-imagine stuff.

The astonishing thing is that three of the co-sponsors are actually on the House Education Committee.

Then we have RetakeOurGov, the tea party PAC group that thinks this is such a fine idea that they are giving free classes to two contest winners to make these teachers eligible for this option should Michigan Republican lawmakers and Governor Snyder completely lose their minds and pass this hideous piece of crap into law:

A local “tea party” group is putting money behind its belief that teachers should be allowed to carry guns at school, an idea the organization said is consistent with “tea party” values.

This week, Hartland Township-based RetakeOurGov announced it will fund concealed-pistol-license, or CPL, training for two Livingston County teachers through a contest.

The organizers anticipate that teachers who apply will want the option to carry concealed pistols at school, something currently not allowed under Michigan law.

The training will be provided by a National Rifle Association-certified instructor and will qualify the teachers for CPLs, according to the group’s website.

RetakeOurGov said it decided to be “proactive” following the December massacre of 20 students and six adults by a gunman at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school.

The contest promotes support for a bill in Lansing that would amend Michigan’s concealed-pistol law to give school boards the ability to allow school employees, including teachers, to carry concealed pistols at school. {…}

“Providing this service to educators I just see as a public service,” [RetakeOurGov treasurer Wes] Nakagiri said.

Teachers are not all so excited by the prospect.

Legislators and nonteacher “tea party” activists do not understand what arming teachers would mean “on the ground,” said Jay McDowell, president of the Howell Education Association, the Howell school district’s teachers’ union.

McDowell said an armed faculty, high emotions among teachers and the possibility of students stealing teachers’ guns would be a recipe for disaster.

Armed teachers could be put in a position of shooting their former students, he added. In Newtown, the gunman attended Sandy Hook Elementary School when he was young.

McDowell said there will likely be Howell teachers interested in the free CPL training, but only because it will be at no cost.

“I just don’t think Representative Rogers or the ‘tea party’ have thought through what this would really look like on the ground,” McDowell said.

“This is not the solution that we want. It is a solution foisted on us by people who would not be put in that position,” he added.

Besides the three bill co-sponsors on the Education Committee, there are 14 others, including six Democrats. We can only hope that sane adults will put an end to this before the legislation even leaves their committee.

[Graphic by Anne C. Savage, special to Eclectablog]