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Michigan is one step closer to allowing concealed carry in schools, churches

The Michigan Senate passed legislation that would allow concealed carry of firearms in traditionally gun-free zones. (George Frey/Getty Images)

The Michigan Senate passed legislation Wednesday that would allow concealed pistol license holders to carry in traditionally gun-free zones. View the full legislation here.

What would the legislation do?

CPL holders with at least eight hours of additional training, or those who are certified firearms instructors, could get an exemption on their license exempting them from gun-free zones, such as:

  • Schools
  • Day cares
  • Churches
  • Stadiums
  • College dormitories
  • Hospitals
  • Casinos

The legislation would also close a loophole that allows for open carry in gun-free zones, but not concealed carry.

Any exceptions?

School districts could still make rules prohibiting staff and students from carrying concealed weapons.

Private property owners could still ban guns on their premises.

Universities could regulate carrying of guns on their campus using their constitutional powers.

How did the vote play out?

Mostly along partisan lines. One Republican, Sen. Marty Knollenberg (R-Troy), voted against it, along with all the Democrats.

What do supporters of the bill say?

Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof (R-West Olive) views concealed carry as a deterrent against potential shooting incidents.

“I truly believe that law-abiding, licensed citizens should be able to exercise their right and responsibility,” Meekhof said.

Meekhof also said most mass shootings happen in gun-free zones, and citizens should have the right to defend themselves.

National Rifle Association and the Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners both support the bill.

What about opponents?

Sen. Curtis Hertel (D-East Lansing) said allowing concealed carry at schools provides an additional danger for parents to worry about.

"We should not have to worry about them being a victim of gun violence," Hertel said. "Parents should be assured that when we drop the kids off at school we'll pick them up in the car lane and not in a body bag,"

Sen. Jim Ananich (D-Flint) said allowing guns in the school would hinder “my ability to educate those children." Ananich is a former teacher.

Some Democrats referred to the bill as "pistols in preschool" legislation.

Now what?

The bill will go to the state House for a vote sometime after Thanksgiving. If it passes the House, it’s unclear how Gov. Rick Snyder will decide on the issue.

Snyder, a Republican, vetoed legislation that would have eliminated gun-free zones in 2012, just four days after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

One last thing…
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