Michigan governor vetoes concealed weapons in schools

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed a controversial bill today that would have allowed gun owners to carry concealed weapons in schools, day care centers, churches and stadiums.

Senate Bill 59 permitted gun owners who receive additional hours of training to carry their weapons in formerly gun-free areas. We discussed the bill on the blog as it generated strong opposition from school boards and teachers’ groups, including the American Federation of Teachers.

“Firearms have absolutely no place in our schools—the Dec. 14th tragic massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., is a chilling and heartbreaking reminder of this. Twenty innocent young children have been robbed of their lives, many shot multiple times. Six public servants, who were trying to save these children, were murdered in an environment that should be considered a safe sanctuary for students, educators and school visitors,” wrote Randi Weingarten, AFT president, and David Hecker, president, AFT Michigan, in a letter to the governor.

According to the Detroit Free Press:

In his veto letter sent to the Legislature shortly before 4 p.m., Snyder said the bill had a fatal loophole that didn’t allow for those institutions to opt out of the new legislation and prohibit weapons from their buildings.

“I believe that it is important that these public institutions have clear legal authority to ban weapons from their premises,” he said. “Each is entrusted with the care of a vulnerable population and should have the authority to determine whether its mission would be enhanced by the addition of concealed weapons.”

The veto comes just four days after a horrific shooting in Newtown, Conn., in which a heavily armed 20-year-old muscled his way into the Sandy Hook Elementary School and killed 20 children and six adults.

Snyder’s office wasn’t immediately available to comment on his actions with the bill, but he came under intense pressure in recent days from religious, medical and education groups to veto the bill. President Barack Obama called on the nation to take definitive action to ensure that no such tragedy happens again.

The bill passed late Thursday in the final hours of a frenetic lame-duck session, in which all sorts of controversial legislation was passed and sent to Snyder.

As soon as word leaked out that Snyder planned to veto the bill, groups opposed to the legislation lauded the governor for his action. “Gov. Snyder is making the right call by rejecting this dangerous legislation,” said Zack Pohl, executive director of Progress Michigan. “This is a victory for school safety and common sense. We need more math and science teachers in our classrooms, not more guns. Snyder deserves credit for finally standing up to the extreme forces in his own party. Now it’s time for Lansing politicians to get their priorities straight and start working together to create jobs and improve education.”

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

19 comments Add your comment

living in an outdated ed system

December 18th, 2012
9:02 pm

It looks to me like gun control is going to become a major priority in Obama’s second term. And conditions appear the most favorable yet in passing such legislation. The NRA has been eerily silent until today, when they made a statement saying they are holding a MAJOR press conference Friday. I hope that rational minds prevail, as we should aspire to a world where we should NEVER have to have our children be in a school where guns or lethal weapons of any kind are permitted. Lets see if Washington can finally come together on this issue. This tragedy should NEVER have happened, and while these families can never have their children back, maybe our nation can use this tragedy to make a bold statement through gun control legislation. We need to find a way as a nation to ensure this NEVER happens again.

Teacher Reader

December 19th, 2012
12:08 am

Has anyone been to Chicago with their strict gun laws, that make it nearly impossible for an honest person to own a gun legally? Look up the shooting stats. In November, shootings were up 49%. The laws prevented the perp to obtain guns legally. He stole the guns from his mother and used them on innocent people. Just as the drug dealers and gang bangers use their illegal weapons in Chicago.

There is nothing wrong with the second amendment. This tragedy shouldn’t have happened, and if the mother was fearful of her son, she should have been able to get him help easier. Do you know how difficult it is to get a person mental help? First there is the stigma, and then there is the lacking help that is nearly impossible to get.

I grew up with guns in my home and have them in my own home. I grew up knowing how to use the guns and also not to touch them without my father and that if I did, I would be killed and he meant it.

While this shooting was a tragedy, we are too quick to give up our rights just like after Sept. 11. Do you really feel safer with the TSA screenings and not being able to meet people at their gate? I know that I don’t.

There is no way to prevent things like this from happening, as someone who really wants to obtain a gun illegally will do so without much of a problem. Even our own government runs guns to thugs without us knowing it (Mexico and Benghazi).


December 19th, 2012
12:10 am

Funny, guns are already illegal in schools. How did that work out for ya?

The Deal

December 19th, 2012
1:45 am

Teacher Reader, then why have restrictions on anything? If you throw up your hands in the face of criminals with guns, then why stop there? Why not lift all of those pesky laws restricting murder, rape, robbery, assault, racketeering, all of it? The criminals are going to do it anyway, so why waste our time trying to track them down? Sound stupid? That’s how your gun fallacies sound to us.

Unfortunately, it only takes one irresponsible gun owner to kill tens of people, and it is becoming very obvious that there are a lot of them out there that aren’t as responsible or threatening as your father. I do not understand why there is this pathological fear that making it more difficult to get a gun will result in a total gun ban. It won’t.

If more guns will make us safe and the United States has the highest gun ownership in the world, why are we the most violent with respect to gun deaths, accidents, and injuries?

I would like one, just one, assault weapons proponent to walk up to one of the families this week in Connecticut and have the guts to say to their faces that their child’s life was worth the freedom to own an assault weapon that has no other purpose than to murder multiple people and that our country is not strong enough to stand up to the evil people who would do such an act by doing all we can to keep those guns out of their hands. Just unbelievable. U.N.B.E.L.I.E.V.A.B.L.E.


December 19th, 2012
6:31 am

@ teacherreader, “While this shooting was a tragedy, we are too quick to give up our rights just like after Sept. 11. Do you really feel safer with the TSA screenings and not being able to meet people at their gate? I know that I don’t.”

You don’t? Why? What has been happening at airports since 9/11? Airport security can be a pain but it sure seems to be working.


December 19th, 2012
6:32 am

@teacherreader, “tragedy shouldn’t have happened, and if the mother was fearful of her son, she should have been able to get him help easier. Do you know how difficult it is to get a person mental help? First there is the stigma, and then there is the lacking help that is nearly impossible to get.”

You are talking about a mother who took her son to the shooting range. Give me a break.

Beverly Fraud

December 19th, 2012
6:40 am

Something we should honestly acknowledge: if a teacher at Newtown had been locked and loaded, there is at least a chance lives could have been saved. We should also acknowledge that for those with evil in their mind, they most likely factor in that schools are indeed “gun free” zones.

Conversely lots of other unpleasant scenarios could be played out with teachers being locked and loaded, from teachers themselves “snapping” to teachers not snapping, but left with no other viable alternative, firing at a student who presented a clear and present danger to their very life.

One can only imagine the apologists out there who would instantly blame the teacher. The apologists who would claim a 5′ 2″ 98 lb teacher should have not used their legally obtained and certified to use weapon (assuming the law was changed) should have merely resorted to “behavior management strategies” when confronted with a 6′ 4″ 240 lb possibly drugged out teenager with violent intent.

Seems like a no win situation (as so many are for teachers these days; wait til the economy improves and get ready for a teacher shortage)

But maybe it’s time to have a conversation about non lethal weapons, such as stun guns.
At least have the conversation. Might at least cut down on the number of assaults against teachers by violent disruptive students. (Yes educrats like to pretend these are practically unheard of, especially those educrats safely ensconced in central office, but they do happen often with no consequences to the student.)

And it just MIGHT prevent another tragedy somewhere else. Imagine a principal like the one in Newtown brave enough to lunge at the perpetrator, lunging with a stun gun.

mystery poster

December 19th, 2012
8:10 am

The Newtown shooter was wearing body armor. I doubt a stun gun would have permeated that.

Beverly Fraud

December 19th, 2012
9:13 am

@mystery poster that is a good point; all the more illustrating why we need to have these discussions.

Freedom Education

December 19th, 2012
10:22 am

Teachers are the first line of defense, and should be armed to protect their students. Front Sight is a training program that would train three administrators, teachers, and staff for free. GA law allows this with written permission from an administrator. Gun control did its job in CT. All of the victims were unarmed, while the criminal did not follow the law.

living in an outdated ed system

December 19th, 2012
10:41 am

I am absolutely disgusted with the press coverage and commenters on this blog talking about mental health. Please do NOT all of sudden turn Aspergers or Autism into a negative stigma! These people are not evil! The mainstream press coverage of this incident has been embarrassing.

The Deal

December 19th, 2012
11:23 am

If a teacher did have a concealed weapon, under what conditions would he or she be allowed to use it? Obviously in the case of an intruder (where I’m sure a handgun would be really effective against an assault rigle, but I digress) but what else? What about a student who is threatening them? Can a teacher shoot a student who is threatening them? Do you really want to go down this road?

mystery poster

December 19th, 2012
3:15 pm

When I was listening to the coverage on NPR, they said that both this shooter and the one in Aurora were wearing body armor. They talked about it as a disturbing trend in mass shootings.

I don’t believe that if principal had a gun that one thing would have changed. The shooter had the element of surprise, and would have killed her long before she could have drawn her gun and been on to the next victims. Even if she were able to draw it in time, she would need to be an excellent shot to get him in the head, presumably while he was moving.

It is also my understanding that most of the children were in one first grade classroom. If the teacher in that class were armed, he again had the element of surprise. I don’t think any fewer casualties would have resulted.

He didn’t finish himself off until he heard the sounds of first responders approaching.

Freedom Education

December 19th, 2012
4:00 pm

“Responsible gun owners can and do prevent mass shootings from occurring and escalating.
•A 1997 high school shooting in Pearl, Miss., was halted by the school’s vice principal after he retrieved the Colt .45 he kept in his truck.
•A 1998 middle school shooting ended when a man living next door heard gunfire and apprehended the shooter with his shotgun.
•A 2002 terrorist attack at an Israeli school was quickly stopped by an armed teacher and a school guard.
•A 2002 law school shooting in Grundy, Va., came to an abrupt conclusion when students carrying firearms confronted the shooter.
•A 2007 mall shooting in Ogden, Utah, ended when an armed off-duty police officer intervened.
•A 2009 workplace shooting in Houston, Texas, was halted by two coworkers who carried concealed handguns.
•A 2012 church shooting in Aurora, Colo., was stopped by a member of the congregation carrying a gun.
•At the recent mall shooting in Portland, Ore., the gunman took his own life minutes after being confronted by a shopper carrying a concealed weapon.”


December 19th, 2012
4:25 pm

@the deal

rules of engangement are very common; only when there is an active shooter on campus should a teacher reveal their weapon; soldiers have followed rules of engangement with no real issues

what I think alot of ppl are not thinking about is that conceal carry permit holders go above and beyond in gun safety, they want to show a person can carry and be a responible citizen;

has anyone researched the topic of how many conceal carry permit holders have been arrested or charged with public safety issues? I am a concealed carry holder and I always know that I have to be “more” responsible; to avoid conflict; and help others.

Dr. Monica Henson

December 19th, 2012
5:48 pm

I’m getting into the guns-in-schools discussions on the blog a little late. I grew up in the rural South, the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, where in the 1970s many of my male high school classmates, along with male teachers, had rifles and knives in their pickup trucks in the parking lots at school. My dad kept guns in our home the whole time we were growing up, locked in his gun cabinet and my siblings of both genders and I were never permitted to touch them until after we had had hunter safety training. My husband is a retired deputy sheriff and we keep guns in our homes.

The idea of arming teachers and administrators inside the school building is simply not feasible. It would take students very little time to figure out where weapons are kept, much less how to pilfer a key to get to them if they were inclined to pull a prank or worse.

I do, however, believe that every brick-and-mortar school needs to have armed school resource officers onsite. Otherwise, staff and students are sitting ducks for any armed intruder, as we have seen repeatedly. I also believe that staff should be able, if licensed, to keep weapons concealed and locked in their vehicles on school property. If the state of Georgia ever determines that school personnel are permitted to do so on school grounds, I’d definitely carry a firearm in my vehicle.

The stakes are simply too high to continue to do what we are doing, which is to make schools gun-free zones. Criminals do not follow the rules. Failure to acknowledge that simple fact and take appropriate action is condemning the staff and students and the next school shooting site–and there will most certainly be more to come–to potential serious injury if not a bloody, violent death.

Pride and Joy

December 19th, 2012
6:52 pm

Teacher Reader, you’re missing the point. It is NOT ENOUGH to ban guns in Chicago if they are legally purchased nearby. We have to outlaw guns in the whole country, not just Chicago.

Freedom Education

December 19th, 2012
7:59 pm

Pride and Joy, you’re missing common sense. Criminals don’t follow the laws, that’s why they are criminals. Only law-abiding citizens obey laws. That means only law-abiding citizens would give up their weapons if guns were band. Therefore, only criminals would have guns. Human beings have to be the stupidest creatures on the planet. Even in nature, creatures naturally use self-defense, but human beings think that if we disarm the victims, we will be safe. Even Jesus said, “he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.” Luke 22:36

The Deal

December 19th, 2012
8:03 pm

Yes, let’s definitely bring Jesus into this. Brilliant.