Late Thursday, the state House and Senate passed legislation that would allow highly trained gun owners to carry concealed weapons in places such as schools, day cares and churches. But the pending new law would also allow schools and other private facilities to "opt out" of allowing concealed weapons on their property.
As of Friday, the legislation awaits Gov. Rick Snyder’s signature before it becomes law.
Brian Brookman, owner of West Michigan Pawn in Grand Haven, said the new law would allow him to send his daughter to school without worry. He said they would know teachers and principals could defend themselves in situations such as Friday’s shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
Brookman said his heart sank when he heard the news that almost 30 people died in Friday's shooting spree. If educators there had been able to carry guns, Brookman said the shooter might not have been able to kill as many people.
The pending new Michigan law, Brookman said, would make the world a safer place.
“It’s less likely these morons will go around killing people,” he said.
While Brookman looks forward to the governor's signature on the legislation, school officials expressed concerns.
Fruitport Community Schools Superintendent Bob Szymoniak said he respects the right to bear arms, but he doesn’t see the need for anyone to be able to carry a gun into a school because of the security measures already in place.
“I don’t think it’s in the best interest of schools that they can carry guns, unless they’re law enforcement,” he said.
To read more of this story, see Saturday’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.