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Michigan legislator’s proposal would allow concealed guns on college

Someone walks into your classroom with a gun and threatens to open fire. Your best defense is to try to escape the room or take out your cell phone and call for help, but under a proposed change to Michigan legislation, you may have another option.

Sparked by the shooting at Virginia Tech in 2007, Michigan Sen. Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, has proposed a change to Michigan law to allow permit holders to carry concealed weapons on college campuses.

Currently, the open carry of weapons is permitted anywhere, so long as the owner has a license to own the gun. Concealed carry is prohibited in churches, sports arenas, taverns, hospitals, casinos, day cares and college campuses including dorms and classrooms, according to the Michigan State Police.

Richardville would like to amend the law to remove the clause prohibiting the carry of concealed weapons on college campuses, saying it would make campuses safer if students were prepared to defend themselves.

On June 19, Michigan State University’s Board of Trustees voted 7-1 to allow individuals with concealed weapons permits to carry a firearm through campus. Guns remain prohibited from MSU campus buildings.

Grand Valley State University President Thomas J. Haas, who leads the Presidents Council, said, ‘All 15 presidents and chancellors of Michigan’s public universities favor the current law that bans firearms and weapons on campus.’

If Michigan legislation is changed to permit concealed weapons in college classrooms and dorms, GVSU would still be able to define its own weapon policy through the student code,

‘State legislation provides a baseline of safety,’ said Tom Butcher, University Counsel. ‘The university can add additional safety precautions.’

Reid Smith, Michigan state director of Concealed Campus, a nation-wide organization in favor of carrying concealed weapons on campus, said there is no reason not to allow concealed weapons on college campuses as they have typically been a target of violent crime.

The bill has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for further consideration.

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