Monday, December 17, 2012

Ask Snyder to Sign SB59, It Will Provide More Protection for Children in School

Friday, December 14th was a most tragic day in Newtown, Connecticut. A crazed young man allegedly shot and killed 20 young children and 6 employees at the Sandy Hook elementary school there. As a father of five and grandfather of 11, some of whom are 6 and seven years old, I can only imagine the pain and grief parents and grandparents are enduring in Newtown.
Gun control advocates wasted no time crying out for more control.  One of the tactics of the gun control crowds is the creation of gun-free zones. Second amendment supporters have long been concerned about that strategy, claiming that putting a sign in front of a school, for instance, that says, "This school is a gun-free zone" is merely an invitation for something unthinkable, like what happened at Sandy Hook, to happen. 
Meanwhile, back in Michigan, literally hours before the tragic occurrences in Newtown, the state legislature passed SB59, which had been originally introduced in January, 2011. This bill, which passed the Senate with a veto-proof majority and the House by a 68-41 count, would, as described at "exempt concealed pistol license holders who have completed at least eight hours of additional training from the "gun free zone" limitations in the CPL law, which bans licensees from carrying in a certain areas (schools, day care facilities, sports stadiums or arenas, bars, bar/restaurants, places of worship, college dorms and classrooms, hospitals, casinos, large entertainment facilities and courts), except that a school or private building owner could still ban guns."
The legislature endorsed this bill probably because it offers the potential for more protection and because it still allows private building owners and public university administrators the right to ban firearms in their respective facilities. 
In the wake of the shootings in Newtown, the governor is surely being lobbied heavily from both sides of the argument. Gun control advocates see last week's event as further evidence that we need to "ban guns." With over 200 million handguns registered in America, the elimination of firearms in this country seems unlikely. Second amendment supporters will argue that this bill would offer just the kind of protection kids in school need. Read this post that just appeared today on the web site: if a law abiding citizen doesn't [carry] then a crazy criminal who DOESN'T follow the law will. We prepare for fires, tornadoes, power outages, our children prepare for gunmen and practice lock downs in schools. If we have even one good guy with a gun in a school when a bad guy is there shooting it up then the odds of our children surviving has increased dramatically! It's not if it is going to happen it's when. We advertise "Gun free School Zones" so these nuts know where to go to not get shot back at. Our state is already an Open carry state. All this is doing is allowing someone to put a jacket on and cover their pistol. You are around guns a lot in your shopping experience and you never new it. Funny how no one was killed.
In some districts in the great state of Texas, school district employees are allowed to carry concealed weapons. David Thweatt, superintendent of the tiny Harrold school district in northwest Texas, said he wanted to minimize casualties that could quickly increase while waiting for deputies. He didn't want a plan where you "lock yourself in your closet and hope that an intruder won't hurt you. So what we came up with was a policy that would protect."

I support this legislation and encourage the governor to sign it. I co-sponsored a similar bill in 2007. I ask you to contact Governor Snyder and ask him to sign SB59. Contact him here. But do so quickly. The bill is on his desk.

UPDATE: Here is the text of a letter one reader just sent:
I know you are facing tremendous pressure from both sides regarding the approval of SB 59. As a survivor of a violent assault and robbery I urge you to support and sign this bill even in view of the recent tragedy in Connecticut. Here are my reasons why. First the record among lawfully licensed CPL holders in Michigan and other states is impeccable.  With the requirement of additional training I can only believe that record will get even better. Second we have the right to protect ourselves wherever we go. It is safer for us to be able to lawfully carry unrestricted than it is to have to leave our firearms in a vehicle if we suddenly find it necessary to visit a facility where we cannot presently carry.  Third there have been occasions where concealed carry license holders have stopped a crime in progress. While my focus would be on self defense it is not inconceivable that I might find myself in a situation where my assistance might be required.
Governor, you showed amazing courage in the battle over right-to-work legislation. That same courage would be much appreciated in this present debate as well.

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