Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Bolger on Concealed Carry

In his most recent newsletter, Speaker Jase Bolger explains the issues surrounded the Governor's veto of concealed carry reform.


Changes to Michigan's Concealed Carry Law Vetoed

Senate Bill 59 which was passed by the legislature was later vetoed by the Governor. The bill would have allowed Concealed Pistol License (CPL) holders who wished to take additional training the ability to carry a concealed weapon in the current Pistol Free Zones. It is currently legal to carry a weapon openly in those areas, however SB 59 would have eliminated open carry in those areas and allowed only concealed carry by specially trained license holders. Under the bill, an organization (like a school) wishing to remain gun free could declare itself so and post a notice of same; in that case licensed persons would not have violated gun laws but could have been asked to leave the premises and charged with trespassing if they refused. The same practice is in place today in many establishments.

According to the Governor's press release his veto was primarily based on what he feels is the bill’s failure to let designated public entities such as schools, day care centers and hospitals opt out of the new concealed carry provisions. He had urged that SB 59 be modified to more significantly restrict pistols in those zones by not only prohibiting open-carry in such places, but for allowing only concealed pistols to be carried if license holders receive additional training, subject to the right of the property owners to prohibit concealed carrying if they desire. Under the bill as passed, only private venues can opt out, as can college universities with constitutional autonomy.

Much of the debate surrounding this bill has come just as the horrific events of Newtown Connecticut unfolded last week. As the father of two children, I cannot begin to imagine the heartbreak and horror for those in Connecticut. The sad truth is that signing or vetoing Senate Bill 59 would have had no impact on that tragedy. With regard to this specific legislation, it is unfortunate a compromise was not reached that the governor could support, and I understand the governor exercising his authority. It also is unfortunate that this veto does not make Michigan citizens safer in gun-free zones. Neither the governor's approval nor his veto will stop evil from preying on innocent people. With this veto, however, open-carry still exists in schools, churches and other public areas, and we know that criminals do not respect gun-free zones. For these reasons, we will continue to work with the governor to best protect our law-abiding citizens' Second Amendment rights, as well as the safety and security of all of our citizens.

No comments: