Governor Snyder vetoes gun bill in the wake of massacres

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Calling for a more comprehensive review of issues related to gun violence, Gov. Rick Snyder today vetoed legislation that would have allowed concealed pistol license holders who completed additional training to carry a concealed pistol in schools and other places that currently are off-limits. The governor also ordered a multi-departmental assessment of the state’s services and needs regarding at-risk children.

Senate Bill 59 would have allowed gun owners who receive additional hours of training to carry their weapons in formerly gun-free areas. The bill was opposed by many groups including the American Federation of Teachers, citing safety concerns.

While the governor rejected Senate Bill 59, he did sign two other bills that streamline the process for handgun purchases and eliminate restrictions on interstate rifle and shotgun transactions to states contiguous to Michigan. Snyder said he vetoed the bill because a provision in it would not let designated public entities such as schools, day care centers and hospitals opt out of the new concealed carry provisions. Currently, Michigan law does not prevent a concealed pistol license holder from openly carrying a pistol in these zones.

“These public venues need clear legal authority to ban firearms on their premises if they see fit to do so,” the Governor said.

The Governor is also calling for a human services review in an effort to identify high risk students and gaps in the state’s mental health system following the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. He has directed the departments of Community Health and Human Services to explore ways to incorporate community mental health workers into the Pathways to Potential model that is under way in schools.

“This type of violence often leaves society with more questions than answers,” Snyder said. “The reasons for such appalling acts usually are numerous and complex. With that in mind, we must consider legislation like SB 59 in a holistic manner. While the bill’s goal is to help prevent needless violence, Michigan will be better served if we view it through a variety of lenses. A thoughtful review that examines issues such as school emergency policies, disenfranchised youth and mental health services may lead to more answers and better safeguards.”