Gov. Rick Snyder said Monday that he’ll take a closer look at a piece of gun legislation headed to his desk that would allow concealed weapons in previously “gun-free zones” like churches and schools.
As the Associated Press reported today:
Snyder [said] during an interview Monday that his public safety concerns have been heightened and “deserve extra consideration” following a mass shooting that left 26 people—including 20 children—dead at a Connecticut elementary school.
Snyder is getting pressure from education and religious leaders to veto the bill that would allow people with additional training to carry a concealed weapon in gun-free zones. The American Federation of Teachers wrote a letter to Snyder on Sunday urging him to veto of the bill.
“Firearms have absolutely no place in our schools—the Dec. 14, 2012, tragic massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., is a chilling and heartbreaking reminder of this,” the letter reads. “We should be doing everything we can to reduce the possibility of any gunfire in schools, and concentrate on ways to keep all guns off school property and ensure the safety of children and school employees.”
Rev. Charles Williams of the National Action Networks Michigan chapter is echoing that call, leading a prayer vigil for the families of gun shot victims outside a Michigan gun range today. He told the Detroit News, “[Violence] affects everybody … and so we need to stop the violence. And the way we feel that we can stop the violence is by reducing the availability to guns.”
Snyder’s hearing a different message from his right flank. State Senator Mike Green, who sponsored the bill, warned of the ramifications of vetoing the bill. “We put a lot of things in there that he wanted and if he doesn’t sign it there’s going to be a lot of people upset,” he said.
This is in fact the second time that Michigan’s legislation to loosen gun restrictions in schools and other gun-free zones has coincided with a major school shooting. The last major Michigan law on concealed carry permits was introduced by Green the day before the Columbine High School massacre of 1999. Green pressed ahead with the bill that would make it easier for people to obtain concealed carry permits anyway, telling MLive.com years later, “[The proposed bill] doesn’t have anything to do with Columbine. This is something that we believe is right, it was proven out in many states, and so we…proceeded with it and did finally pass it out of the House.”
On Monday, Green seemed to suggest that keeping guns out of schools was ultimately keeping them unsafe, “In the last 20 years, when we had a mass murder, which is defined as five people or more, it’s been in a gun-free zone. Do you think there is a lesson we can draw from that?”