In the wake of this violence, Gov. Rick Snyder should veto a bill that would expand where individuals can carry concealed weapons.
On Friday morning, a gunman killed 26 people — 20 of whom were young children — at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. The horror everyone involved must have felt is beyond words. And the loss of such young, innocent life is heartbreaking.
Earlier in the week, another gunman killed two people who were out shopping at Clackamas Town Center near Portland, Ore.
In the flurry of bills that emanated from the Michigan Legislature last week, lawmakers sent a bill, Senate Bill 59, to the governor. SB 59 would allow more highly trained gun owners to carry their weapons into previously barred venues, including schools, day care centers, churches and stadiums.
The bill also contains a provision for private businesses to opt out if they don't wish guns on their premises. Schools could create "no-gun zones," but they couldn't opt out entirely. That's unacceptable.
Snyder didn't request this gun bill, in addition to several other bills that center on social issues, and he would be justified in sending it back to the Legislature. On Friday, he told The Detroit News those bills would receive extra scrutiny.
Looking ahead, the gun bill contains some good provisions that could form the basis of new legislation.Current law permits gun owners to carry their weapon without a permit if it is openly exposed. That's led to people showing up in other public places with visible guns on their hips, or even in their hands. This law restricts that.
A separate gun-related bill also passed out of the Legislature, and it requires the Michigan State Police, instead of local law enforcement, to keep gun purchase records. It also eases some license requirements to purchase a handgun. That bill seems less volatile.
But in light of last week's tragedies, this is not the time for more guns on school grounds.
The vast majority of those who hold concealed carry permits respect firearms and most do not commit such violent crimes. In fact, they may be able to help by stopping gunmen before police get on the scene.
While we remain strong Second Amendment advocates and generally oppose knee-jerk responses, surely prudence is called for at this hour.
These bills deserve the governor's scrutiny and can easily wait until the next legislative session.
— THE DETROIT NEWS
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