A public hearing is set to occur in the Senate Judiciary Committee in Michigan this week over a bill that would allow concealed weapons to be carried in “Pistol Free Zones,” including schools, bars and churches.
Currently, the state does not allow concealed pistol license holders to openly carry their weapons in such areas, which includes areas such as schools, day care centers, and bars. The new legislation would not give them the right to openly carry a weapon there, but it would offer CPL holders the right to carry a weapon in those areas, which would effectively eliminate pistol free areas.
State law does allow open carry in public venues, including community college campuses and public libraries, so long as the carrier has a CPL. The new bill would take away the right to openly carry, offering instead the right to carry a concealed weapon, writes Laura Berman for The Detroit News.
The issue is a topic of intense debate as school shootings occur across the country. Less than two weeks ago a gunman opened fire at a community college in Oregon. In Auburn Hills, a woman with a concealed carry permit opened fire on a suspected shoplifter at a Home Depot. Sen. Mike Green said the bill could be a fix for this, writes Emily Lawler for MLive.
“There’s a lot of school superintendents that have come to him and me both asking us for a solution, because the solution that the other party has is not a solution,” Green said. “They want to go after the big picture of let’s just eliminate all guns everywhere and we did not see that as a solution.”
Green said the bill was meant to be a “peace pipe” to appease both gun rights groups as well as school officials. However, he said not everyone is in favor of the bill, particularly groups such as Michigan Open Carry, which wrote on its website that the bill is a “dangerous sloppy mess.”
However, the bill does have the support of many, including Sen. Rick Jones, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“My constituents are very upset about open carry in schools and when I talked to them about this switching open carry for concealed carry by people who are licensed and trained they really liked the idea,” Jones said.
Jones said it is likely that the bill will move on from the committee and reach the Senate floor after the hearing.