Back in the lame duck session of 2012, Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed a bill that would have allowed concealed weapons to be carried just about everywhere. Schools, day care centers, sports arenas, bars, places of worship, hospitals, dorms and casinos. All of these so-called gun-free zones would no longer be gun-free.
He made the right decision.
However, yesterday the Senate Judiciary Committee passed similar legislation, Senate Bills 442 and 561 – referred to by some as “Guns Everywhere” bills – on a 4-1 party line vote. The bills are touted as a “fix” to our weird situation where it’s illegal to carry a concealed weapon but okay to openly display a weapon in gun-free zones like schools, college dorms, sports stadiums and other public venues, places one advocate for looser gun control has called “mass murder empowerment zones. The sponsor of S.B. 442, Republican Senator Mike Green, called the bills – with no apparent sense of the withering irony – a “peace pipe” meant to resolve the open carry loophole.
The national group Keep Guns off Campus contends that, with regard to campus crime, the bill is attempting to solve a problem which simply does not exist. They compiled data from 2013 comparing specific crime rates on Michigan campuses relative to the state as a whole and what they found was the campuses are, in general, pretty safe places:
The most recent incident of a shooter killing students at the Umpqua Community College in Oregon happened on a campus where guns ARE allowed but it didn’t change the outcome in any way. In fact, several gun carriers elected NOT to use their weapons because they understood that law enforcement officials wouldn’t know if they were bad guys with guns or good guys with guns.
The idea isn’t popular with most Michiganders, either. A poll taken during the first go-around with this legislation showed that 75% of Michigan voters are against allowing guns in these public venues, including over half of those who hold a concealed pistol license.
The “Guns Everywhere” bills now go to the full Senate for a vote and then to the House so there’s still time to contact your legislators to ask them to vote NO on both bills. While Republicans would love to have us believe that more guns makes us safer, that doesn’t make it true. We should be able to go to a concert or a sporting event or to school or church and not have to worry if there are guns around us. If these bills become law, that is exactly what will happen.
Guns everywhere means more people wanting to be the hero, wanting to save the day with their gun like a vigilante in a Hollywood movie. We will have more people like the moronic Tatiana Duva-Rodriguez who thought it was a good idea to unload her weapon against a fleeing shoplifter in a crowded Home Depot parking lot in Auburn Hills without any knowledge of why the man was being chased.
We’ve evolved as a society since the days of the Wild, Wild West and these bills represent a return to that unevolved state.
One more thing: Senator Mike Green, the primary sponsor of one of the bills, has been a member of the conservative/corporatist bill mill American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) since the late 1990s and is the state ALEC co-chair along with Republican Rep. Aric Nesbitt. Not surprisingly, ALEC is a big proponent of this sort of legislation including their Campus Personal Protection Act.