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Governor Vetoes Concealed Pistol Bill

Alex Wong, Getty Images News

Calling for a more comprehensive review of issues related to gun violence, Gov. Rick Snyder today vetoed legislation that would have allowed concealed pistol license holders who completed additional training to carry a concealed pistol in schools and other places that currently are off-limits.

While the governor rejected Senate Bill 59, he did sign two other bills that streamline the process for handgun purchases and eliminate restrictions on interstate rifle and shotgun transactions to states contiguous to Michigan.

Snyder’s veto primarily is based on 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. Currently, Michigan law does not prevent a concealed pistol license holder from openly carrying a pistol in these zones.

Snyder had urged that SB 59 be modified to more significantly restrict pistols in those zones by prohibiting open-carry in such places, in exchange 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.

“While we must vigilantly protect the rights of law-abiding firearm owners, we also must ensure the right of designated public entities to exercise their best discretion in matters of safety and security,” he said. “These public venues need clear legal authority to ban firearms on their premises if they see fit to do so.”

Friday’s horrific school shootings in Connecticut also highlighted the need for a thorough review of SB 59, though Snyder had committed to give the bill additional scrutiny even before the tragedy in an effort to ensure that public safety remains a priority.

“This type of violence often leaves society with more questions than answers,” Snyder said. “The reasons for such appalling acts usually are numerous and complex. With that in mind, we must consider legislation like SB 59 in a holistic manner. While the bill’s goal is to help prevent needless violence, Michigan will be better served if we view it through a variety of lenses. A thoughtful review that examines issues such as school emergency policies, disenfranchised youth and mental health services may lead to more answers and better safeguards.”

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