PTA council to protest concealed carry bills at Tuesday board meeting

The Farmington Public Schools district-wide PTA Council plans what organizers call a “peaceful presence” at the February 13 Board of Trustees meeting, urging officials to oppose legislation that would allow some gun owners to carry concealed weapons in schools.

The PTA Council in January asked officials to take a position against Senate Bills 584-586:

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“Given PTA’s history of advocacy for the safety of children and youth, Michigan PTA and Farmington Area PTA Council stand against any legislation that increases our students’ exposure to weapons when not in the hands of law enforcement officials.”

According to a legislative analysis, the tie-barred bills (meaning one cannot pass without the others) would allow the concealed carry exemption for “no-carry” zones if the gun owner receives “at least eight hours of training that (meets) specified conditions,” or is a certified firearms instructor. The training, by a certified instructor, must:

  • Include both classroom and range time.
  • Include the firing of at least an additional 94 rounds.
  • Focus on the pistol safety training principles as they apply to public places and premises listed as no-carry zones, subject to the exclusion of parking areas.
  • Be provided by an agency of the State or by a national or State firearms training organization.
  • Be completed within five years immediately before the date of the application for an original or renewal license or an exemption.

The package adds school districts, community college districts, and public libraries to the list of entities that cannot enact local rules that differ from state or federal laws, and closes a loophole that allows gun owners to legally “open carry” in gun-free zones. Schools would still be able to exercise control over students, and colleges and universities could establish their own weapons policies.

Some parents support the bills; at least one believes trained staff with concealed weapons in schools would be a benefit in an “active shooter” situation.

“We feel lives would be saved,” Sheri Edwards wrote on the PTA Council’s public event page.

Tuesday’s school board meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. in the Schulman Administrative Center, 32500 Shiawassee St. in Farmington. The agenda for the meeting and a Curriculum Committee meeting held at 5:30 p.m., are posted on the district’s website.

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