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    The right to bare arms has probably been one of the most controversial and debated rights guaranteed to us by the Bill of Rights. The debate has become even more heated due to recent mass shootings in schools and other public areas. The federal Gun Free Zones Act of 1990 was the first piece of federal law to establish schools as gun free zones, meaning an unauthorized individual cannot knowingly possess a firearm at a place the individual knows is a school zone. Republican President George H.W. Bush signed the bill into law.

     

    . The Michigan Firearms Act of 1927 is Michigan's own version of the federal Gun Free Zones Act. The law establishes gun free zones such as school property, hospitals, sports events etc. The law prohibits concealed weapon permit holders from carrying a concealed weapon in these gun free zones. It has come to light in recent years that there is a loophole in the Michigan Firearms Act that allows an individual with a valid concealed pistol license to openly carry in Michigan’s schools. This is a major contradiction in that you are not allowed to carry a concealed weapon in a school but you are allowed to openly carry a weapon. Gun free zones are not actually gun free if an individual is not allowed to carry a concealed weapon but is allowed to openly carry a weapon.

     

    Recently, in Michigan, State Representatives Jon Hoadley and Andy Schor have introduced a pair of bills aiming to prohibit openly carrying weapons in gun free zones. House Bill 4261, introduced by Representative Schor, would prohibit openly carrying weapons in gun free zones and add libraries to the list of gun free zones. Representative Schor introduced similar legislation in 2013 but it was stalled in committee.

     

    The bills introduced by Representative Schor and Hoadley are unlikely to pass, or even get out of committee, in the Republican led Michigan State House. The Republican Party is increasingly in favor of loosening up of the nation's laws that restrict access. Gun advocating legislators in the Republican Party have been working to repeal the minimal laws this country has regulating guns. This year Republican Congressman Thomas Massie of Kentucky introduced legislation to repeal the Gun Free Zones Act of 1990. In 2012 the Michigan State Legislature passed a law that would have allowed CPL holders who went through extended training to carry concealed or to openly carry firearms in schools. Governor Snyder vetoed the legislation.

     

    A USA Today poll, taken on February 10, 2013, showed that residents of the state of Michigan favor gun control measures. Michiganders favored banning ammunition magazines by a 58% to 38% margin and prohibiting the manufacture, possession or sale of semi-automatic assault weapons, such as the AK47 or the AR-15 by 54% to 43%. Michiganders may not support repealing the Second Amendment, but they do support smart and reasonable gun control measures. An effective way to close the loophole in the Michigan Firearms Act may be to take the issue to the people. If the people of the state express their support for Gun Control legislation, by holding legislator accountable for voting against gun control measures, more legislators in both parties will support gun control legislation. One option for supporters of gun control in Michigan may be through ballot initiative. This strategy was recently successful in the state of Washington and is currently underway in Nevada and proposed for other states. Everyone deserves to have a right to bare arms, however that right should not infringe upon an individual’s safety.

     

    References:

    Ridely, Gary. “6 facts about Michigan open carry laws and guns in schools”. Mlive. 6 Mar. 2015. Web. 8. Mar. 2015.

    http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2015/03/6_things_to_know_about_guns_in.html

    Mitchell, Alex. “State Rep. Jon Hoadley introduces bill prohibiting open carry in ‘gun-free zones’”. 25. Feb. 2015. Web. 8. Mar. 2015.

    http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2015/02/bill_prohibiting_open_carry_in.html

    Spangler, Todd. “Poll: Mich. Residents Support gun-control Measures”. USA Today. 13 Feb 2013. Web. 30 Mar. 2015. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/02/13/michigan-gun-poll/1917877/

    Beattie, James. “Republican Congressman introduces bill to repeal Gun-free School Zones”. Western Journalism. 9 Jan. 2015. Web. 30 Mar. 2015. http://www.westernjournalism.com/republican-congressman-introduces-bill-repeal-gun-free-school-zones/

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