Right now in Michigan you are not allowed to carry a concealed weapon in certain places such as churches (unless you have permission from church officials), schools, and daycare centers. Tuesday a Senate Committee voted for a bill that would change that.
If passed it would allow concealed weapons in Michigan schools, day care centers churches and other gun-free zones.
Retired police officer and owner of the gun store and shooting range Action Impact William Kucyk says the bill could save lives.
“Currently when people gather and you can’t have firearms, those are considered soft targets. Within that audience are a bunch good, strong, courageous people and they need some kind of ability to counteract an active shooter,” said Kucyk.
“I am not comfortable with that. Especially around children and someone else’s children,” said Steven McGhee, Superintendent of Harper Woods Schools.
McGhee is concerned about the impact the legislation could have. It would allow someone to get an exemption, if they get 8 hours of training and apply for the right to carry a concealed weapon in gun-free zones.
He says we have seen trained police officers make tragic mistakes. What is going to happen when teachers, parents, and others with less training are armed?
“The training portion is major. You have police officers who protect and serve and have training on a continuum. Just imagine having a gun in the hands of someone that doesn’t have that level of training and that level of restraint. You can have many more tragic events that can happen within the confines of a school,” said McGhee.
“Until you prohibit anybody from entering that school. Until you lock it down, you are going to be subject to maybe an active shooter. So somebody in that venue has to have the ability to protect people who are there,” argues Kucyk.
“I think that individuals carrying weapons should be the local authorities who are trained,” said McGhee.
“We can’t expect law enforcement to be everywhere. They can’t do it,” said Kucyk.
Harper Woods Superintendent McGhee is not alone in his concerns. Groups representing school administrators are lobbying against the bill. Lawmakers tried to pass similar legislation several years ago, but it was vetoed by Governor Rick Snyder. At the time he said he believed schools, hospitals, and other gun-free zones should have the ability to choose to remain gun-free.
Seven Action News reached out to the governor to see where he stands now.
“He isn’t going to have a position on the concealed weapons bills until/unless they pass both chambers and come to his desk,” said Anna Heaton, a spokesperson for the governor.
The bill still needs approval from the full Senate and House before it would go to the governor’s desk.