Farmington school officials split on gun bill resolution

Farmington Public Schools officials with a split vote passed a resolution Tuesday opposing legislation that would allow some gun owners to carry concealed weapons in schools.

The district’s PTA Council, representing all building parent-teacher groups, last month asked officials to take a stand against Senate Bills 584-586, which would allow gun owners meeting certain requirements to carry concealed weapons in “no carry” zones. School districts would also be added to the list of entities that cannot enact local gun rules different from state or federal law, and districts would be allowed to enforce rules only with their own students.

The pre-vote discussion centered around whether allowing concealed weapons in schools would make students more safe or put them at a greater risk.

Trustee Terry Johnson, who described himself as a certified firearms instructor, reserve officer in two communities, and a concealed pistol license (CPL) holder, said 85 percent of mass shootings happen in gun-free zones. A sign or a bill will not stop someone with “ill intent,” he said.

“What stops someone with ill intent? A good guy with a gun. Is that a police officer? In some cases, yes. In some cases, it is our own parents and CPL holders.”

Johnson said the average response time for police is nine minutes and suggested that someone with a gun could take action during those nine minutes.

“Passing this bill will do nothing but increase the likelihood that something is going to happen in our community,” he said. “The blood that will be shed by passing this bill… will be on anybody who wants to pass this. We need safety for children. I’m asking this board not to get emotional, but to look at the numbers on this.” 

Trustee Terri Weems, also a gun owner, said she doesn’t believe that allowing concealed weapons in schools will stop someone who intends to do harm.

“I am more concerned with the risk of accidents,” she said. “If there were an accident, that would be on our heads. I think of that more than someone who has ill intent.”

Trustee Jim Stark took issue with Johnson’s statement about police response times. He said Farmington Public Safety’s is 90 seconds to three minutes. His issue with the bills centered around “local governance. I think we know what’s best for our community.”

Trustees Weems, Stark, Jessica Cummings, Mark Przeslawski, and Angie Smith voted in favor of the resolution; Johnson and Turner opposed it.

During public comments, Sibyl Collins Wilson, president of Michigan PTA, thanked officials for adopting the resolution.

“Hopefully, the move that has been taken tonight by Farmington will become a lamp post to other districts that will then also support this measure and hopefully will reach the ears of our legislators so that all of us will be able to sleep at night.”

Watch the full discussion online at tv10.viebit.com.


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