MEA supports Schor bill closing dangerous loophole in Michigan’s gun law

MEA President Steve Cook (right) addresses media at the state Capitol on March 14 about the MEA’s support for House Bill 4104, which would close a dangerous loophole that allows concealed pistol license holders to openly carry firearms in Michigan schools. With Cook is the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Andy Schor, D-Lansing.

LANSING, Mich., March 14, 2013 – The Michigan Education Association endorsed legislation Thursday that would close a dangerous loophole in Michigan’s gun law that allows a concealed weapons license holder to openly carry a gun in gun-free zones such as schools.

Last year, a concealed weapon license holder, Nicholas Looman, walked into Kent County’s Aberdeen Elementary School holstering a Smith & Wesson 9mm pistol on his hip. He was there to vote, but under current Michigan law, it’s legal for anyone who has a concealed weapons license to openly carry a firearm into a school. The only requirement – the gun has to be visible.

“We need to make our schools safer and more secure,” said Rep. Andy Schor, D-Lansing, who is sponsoring legislation – House Bill 4104 – to close this dangerous loophole. “Allowing openly-armed civilians to roam the halls of our schools is a recipe for disaster.”

Three months ago today, Adam Lanza shot 26 people, including 20 children, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, sparking a nationwide discussion on gun violence and school safety.  In the wake of the shootings, Gov. Rick Snyder wisely vetoed a bill passed by the Legislature just hours before Sandy Hook that would have closed this open-carry loophole, but would also have allowed for concealed weapons in schools.

MEA opposed that legislation and continues to oppose efforts to solve the issue of school safety by putting more guns in schools.

“Schools are supposed to be safe havens so Michigan’s children can focus on learning and exploring – not worrying about whether someone with a gun will walk through the front door – whether that gun is on their hip or in their jacket,” said MEA President Steve Cook.  “Republicans and Democrats should all agree that House Bill 4104 is a sensible fix to a dangerous loophole.”

HB 4104 has been referred to the House Local Government Committee, where it has yet to have a hearing.