State senate considers reducing gun free zones

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Lansing (WJRT)- (11/7/17) - You may soon be able to carry concealed weapons in Michigan schools and other gun free zones. A committee of the Michigan Senate has voted to let concealed pistol license holders carry in areas that are currently off limits.

If the bills survive the legislative process and are signed by Governor Snyder, then teachers could carry concealed weapons in the classroom.

Three bills are being considered by the Senate Government Operations Committee. Currently concealed pistol license holders can open carry, but not concealed carry in gun-free zones. The legislation would change that. Eight extra hours of training would be required by license holders.

"I just don't think it's right to have guns around kids in general," said Ben Strom of Holly.

"I don't want the children to be faced with somebody coming in off the streets with guns but when you also put the guns in teachers hands I worry about the kids safety too," said Connie Hosler of Davison.

"I'm unsure how I feel about a teacher having a gun in school," said Christine Slezak of Davison.

The committee heard from a number of people concerned about the bills, including a representative from the American Federation of Teachers of Michigan.

"Introducing weapons to schools is not the solution. Schools must be safe sanctuaries, not armed fortresses," said Julie Rowe of the AFT Michigan.

"By still allowing people to defend themselves you still would allow that learning environment to continue," said Arlan Meekhof, Michigan Senate Majority Leader.

The bills are opposed by Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich of Flint.

"I think adding more access to guns in daycares and preschools and places where people are drinking alcohol instead of making us more safe makes us less safe," said State Sen. Jim Ananich, (D) Flint.

The bills passed on a three-to-two vote and will move on to the full state senate Wednesday. It's not clear where Governor Snyder stands on the issue.

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