Michigan lawmaker would allow guns in more places

LANSING (AP) -- A Michigan lawmaker introduced a proposal Tuesday that would lift restrictions on where residents with the proper licenses could carry concealed weapons.

The legislation sponsored by Sen. Mike Green, a Republican from Mayville, would repeal so-called "no carry" or "gun-free" public zones. Those include sports stadiums, schools, university dorms and classrooms, day care centers, churches, hospitals and casinos.

Similar proposals in recent years have not gained much momentum in the Michigan Legislature. But sponsors are taking another crack because more than half of the members of the House and Senate are new to their current seats this year, and Republicans control both chambers.

Green was a key sponsor of laws approved in 2000 that made it easier to get a weapons permit in Michigan. Green said gun-free zones were included in the original legislation to help ensure its passage, but experience has shown they are not needed.

"We are constitutionally able to defend ourselves when we need it, yet we lose our constitutional right when we walk into the door of a gun-free zone," Green said.

His plan is already facing opposition. Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing, said in a statement that the previous legislation was working and the proposed repeal "causes me a great deal of concern for the safety of our schools and hospitals."

Green's bill also would get rid of local gun licensing boards. The Secretary of State's office would take over permits for concealed weapons.

State law related to who could get concealed weapons permits would not change under Green's proposal. Permits should be issued if applicants are at least 21 and haven't been convicted of a felony or selected misdemeanors. Permits can be denied in cases where applicants have a history of mental illness.

More than 250,000 people in Michigan have concealed weapons permits.

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The bills are Senate Bills 58-59.

Published: Thu, Jan 27, 2011

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