Op/Ed: Time to speak on weapons bills

It’s hard for me to imagine anyone supporting Michigan State Senate bills 584-586, which would allow people who’ve completed some additional training to apply for a permit to carry a concealed weapon in schools, day care centers, and other “no carry” zones.

Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof likes the bills. He told Michigan Public Radio that “no carry zones” create a “target rich environment for people who don’t abide by the law. And people should have the ability to protect themselves, wherever they are.”

I’m going to skip right past calling schools and day care centers “target rich environments,” that’s just a fear-mongering way to defend a position, and it’s truly beneath the level of civil discourse. So is arguing that this legislation will simply lead to more dead children.

The truth is we have absolutely no proof that people who shoot up schools and nightclubs and arenas and day care centers give a damn whether somebody in the building has a gun. Read about the people who commit these monstrous acts. They’re motivated by mental illness, hatred, rage, resentments – not the availability of their victims.

You want to find a way to connect mass shootings, many of them do seem to have one thing in common: domestic violence. As fortune.com reports, “According to Everytown for Gun Safety, mass shooters killed a partner or family member in 54% of shootings—which are defined as incidents in which four or more people are killed by guns.”

Further, part of this package, SB 586, prohibits school district officials from creating or enforcing any policies that are more strict that state or federal law, stripping local control from school boards and citizens.

These Michigan Senate bills will likely go nowhere; Governor Rick Snyder has in the past vetoed similar bills and will likely send these to that great trash can in the sky. But in his last term, there’s no guarantee he will. It seems reasonable to assume that even if he does, these bills will resurface.

That’s why I agree with the Farmington Area PTA Council: It’s important for Farmington Public Schools officials to make a strong statement now in opposition to this group of bills – the same kind of statement made to parents and students at the start of each school year.

We are a community that values the safety of our children, and we put our money where our mouths are. Our tax dollars pay for school resource officers who have demonstrated time and again their ability to connect with students in ways that prevent problems or quickly nip them in the bud. Farmington Public Schools voters just invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to make school entrances more safe.

And after all that, we’re going to have adults in our school buildings with guns no one can see? It just doesn’t make sense.

On Tuesday, Feb. 13, members of the PTA Council will show up dressed in purple as a way to protest these bills and encourage trustees to pass a resolution opposing Senate Bills 584-586. If you’d like to join them, or want to share your thoughts electronically, visit https://farmingtonareapta.org/.

– Joni Hubred

This op/ed originally appeared in our Farmington Voice weekly patron email. Learn how you can receive it here: farmingtonvoice.com/support/.

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