LANSING, Mich. (RNS) Individuals with valid concealed weapons permits could carry guns in Michigan areas currently prohibited by law, including schools, churches, bars and sports stadiums, under proposed legislation.
The state’s current gun restrictions date to 2000 as part of a law that relaxed permitting requirements. The original House sponsor of that law, Republican Mike Green, is now pushing to relax those rules as a member of the state Senate.
Green has introduced legislation allowing the 255,870 permit holders in Michigan to carry firearms into hospitals, casinos, entertainment facilities with a seating capacity greater than 2,500, churches (if the presiding official doesn’t object), and college dormitories or classrooms.
A separate measure introduced by Green would transfer permitting authority from local gun boards to the Michigan Secretary of State.
Green said the existing restrictions can be lifted because the public is more aware of the decade-old change in the law. The measure is likely to be taken up later this year after lawmakers address budget and tax issues.
“The fears they had then have changed,” he said. “There haven’t been any shootouts in the street and people are willing to look at it differently. Why is it legal constitutionally to carry it on the street or into a restaurant, but when you go into the door of another building, it’s illegal?”
Michael Boulus, who represents presidents of state universities, said the state’s 15 public universities would continue to “oppose any legislation that brings weapons on campus. It’s unhealthy; this isn’t the wild west.”
Rick Buckner, president of the group Michigan Gun Owners, said he supports both Green measures.
“If a person has cleared the background checks and has done everything required to carry a firearm as a law-abiding citizen, why restrict that person?” Buckner said.