Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Starting December 1st, applications for concealed pistol licenses will pass thru a different system in Michigan.

A new state law taking effect eliminates local gun boards and puts the review process entirely in the hands of the Michigan State Police.  The new law is also speeding up the review process, from 60 to 45 days.

Jack Lessenberry.
Michigan Radio

For this Week in Michigan Politics, I spoke with senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry about how the terrorist attacks overseas could impact Michigan, and whether Governor Snyder has the power to put on hold efforts to bring Syrian refugees to Michigan.  We also got an update on proposed bills to allow people to carry concealed weapons in gun-free zones.


Gov. Rick Snyder would veto legislation allowing concealed weapons in schools if it doesn’t give districts a choice.

Bills sitting on the state Senate floor would allow people to carry concealed weapons in gun-free zones. But Senate Bills 442 and 561 would also ban them from openly carrying in those areas, which is currently allowed in schools.

Snyder vetoed similar legislation in 2012.

"I vetoed it once. I’d veto it again,” the governor told WJIM Radio host Steve Gruber on Friday.

There is such a thing as public service journalism. They award a Pulitzer Prize for it every year. And so, in the interest of public service, and without the usual niceties, I would like you to permit me to draw your attention to a problem Michigan faces today.

Namely our legislative leaders seem to have lost their minds, any sense of the public good, and it is time to stop treating their raving lunacy as if it deserved respect. 

user westsideshooter / Flickr

In this Week in Michigan Politics, Michigan Radio's Jack Lessenberry and Christina Shockley discuss proposed bills to eliminate gun free zones, how road funding talks have stalled again, and an update on the Flint water crisis. 

You can listen below:

Gun in holster on hip
Teknorat / Creative Commons / cropped from original

A Washtenaw County trial court judge has dismissed a lawsuit against an Ann Arbor Public Schools policy banning guns on school property.

The Ann Arbor School Board voted unanimously to ban guns on school grounds after a man openly carried a pistol to a school performance last spring.

New bill would get rid of open-carry loophole

Sep 10, 2015
Gun in holster on hip
Paul Weaver / Creative Commons

A new Michigan Senate bill introduced this week would close a loophole that allows open carry of firearms in gun-free zones, including schools and places of worship.

Last spring, a man caused a stir when he openly carried a handgun to a school choir concert in Ann Arbor. 

That would no longer be allowed under the new bill, but there's a catch.

Public Domain

A Michigan House bill would give judges more discretion when it comes to sentencing first-time felons who carried a gun during their crime.

Right now, first-time offenders face a mandatory two-year sentence for a felony firearm charge, on top of any other charges they're facing.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

A federal judge has ruled against a man who was demonstrating his right to openly carry a gun in a Grand Rapids neighborhood.

One Sunday morning last year, Johann Deffert decided to exercise his free speech rights. He put on some camouflage pants, put his tactical pistol in its holster, and started walking around a neighborhood.

Someone called 9-1-1.

Parent group wants to make Mich. schools gun-free zones

May 11, 2015
Paul Weaver / Flickr Creative Commons

A group of Ann Arbor parents is asking Michigan lawmakers to help keep guns out of Michigan's schools.

Dr. Sonya Lewis is spearheading a statewide petition, urging the legislature to get rid of what some call the "open carry loophole."  The petition has more than 1,000 signatures.

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

The Ann Arbor school board has unanimously voted to ban guns on school grounds, less than two months after a man wore a gun to a school choir concert.

Dozens of parents turned out to recent board meetings asking the board members to pass the ban.

But it required lengthy discussion with the board’s legal advisors, because technically, an exception in Michigan law makes it legal for someone with a concealed pistol license to open carry in schools.


A Michigan school district is defending its gun ban in court.

Open carry advocates sued the Clio Area School District back in March. 

That's after a dad with a concealed pistol license was asked to leave his daughter's elementary school for openly carrying a gun.

Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

UPDATE: We've added the actual policies that the board is considering below.

Ann Arbor's school board met last night to consider banning guns on campus.

It's been weighing the question since a gun-rights advocate named Joshua Wade wore a gun to a high school concert. In Michigan, it’s legal to openly carry a gun in schools so long as you have a concealed pistol license.  

Ann Arbor schools considering new weapons policy

Mar 18, 2015
user westsideshooter / Flickr

The Ann Arbor School Board is exploring options for a weapons-free school policy.

This comes after a March 5 incident in which a man caused concern after openly carrying a pistol to a Pioneer High School choir performance.

Michigan open-carry laws allow people with concealed carry permits to openly carry guns in schools.


When it comes to schools, pot and guns in Michigan, who's the boss? This week, Jack Lessenberry and Rina Miller discuss an executive order that puts control of the state's worst performing schools in the governor's hands, whether legalizing recreational marijuana would be good for Michigan, and a skirmish in Ann Arbor over openly carrying weapons in schools.


user Joshuashearn / wikimedia commons

As the debate over gun rights and regulations sways back and forth in the media and legislatures across the country, Michigan is seeing a surge in women with concealed pistol licenses.

In 2010, some 10,000 women in Michigan had the permits. Today, that number is over 25,000.

Gratiot and Muskegon counties saw increases of more than 400 percent, according to The Detroit News. 

user Ben Re / Flickr

The State House has approved legislation that would overhaul the way Michigan approves concealed pistol licenses.

The legislation would abolish county gun boards which approve the licenses. Those duties would go to county clerks with the State Police conducting background checks.

State Representative Klint Kesto, R-Commerce Township, says the gun boards sometimes discriminate against applicants.

user Joshuashearn / wikimedia commons

A number of controversial gun bills moved closer to a final vote in the state House Tuesday.

A House panel approved bills that would get rid of county gun boards. Those are panels made up mostly of local law enforcement officials which approve or reject concealed pistol licenses. Those duties would go to county clerks and the State Police.

Atlantic Council / Flickr

Governor Snyder is facing increasing pressure to veto legislation that would let some people who have personal protection orders against them carry a concealed weapon.

Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Dingell has written a letter to Snyder urging him not to sign it.

Dingell joined us today from Washington D.C.

User: Michigan State Spartans / facebook

This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and Rina Miller discuss Governor Rick Snyder’s air gun legislation veto, a new criminal justice commission, and legislation that forbids Michigan public university athletes from unionizing.


Gov. Rick Snyder has vetoed legislation that would have relaxed restrictions on guns that use air-power to shoot pellets, BBs, paintballs, and other projectiles.

The legislation was supported by the NRA and gun rights groups, but opposed by many local government officials who would have lost a lot of authority to regulate air guns within their borders.

The NRA says Michigan is one of only four states that classify air guns as firearms.

Gov. Snyder says he vetoed the bills because they were part of an incomplete package of legislation. He says they would have changed the definition of what a firearm is in some state laws, but leave them untouched in others.

taliesin /

Ypsilanti's city council approved body cameras for police officers at Tuesday night’s meeting in city hall.

Police Chief Tony DeGiusti requested the cameras as part of a series of overdue updates to the department’s deteriorating patrol car cameras, microphones and the DVD burning system police use to make copies of patrol videos for lawyers.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Supporters and opponents of expanding background checks for gun buyers in Michigan were at the state capitol today.

House Bill 4774 has sat in the state House Judiciary committee for a year without ever being brought up for a committee hearing.  

The bill would expand state background checks to include long guns.

Daniel Weber / Flickr

"Children deserve to feel safe wherever they live, play and learn."

Those words came from the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics just a few days after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School and they sum up the feelings of some physicians from coast to coast.

There's a new group in Michigan trying to bring attention to gun violence. The group is made up of doctors.

Stateside's Cynthia Canty recently spoke with Dr. Jerry Walden, a family practice physician who was named "Family Physician of the Year" by the Michigan Academy of Family Practice.

Dr. Andy Zweifler, an internist and an emeritus professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School is also a member of the group Physicians for the Prevention of Gun Violence.

They joined us today.

*Listen to the interview above.

Dustin Dwyer

Last month, a disagreement on a residential street in Muskegon turned into a massive gun battle. Six men were armed. Dozens of shots sprayed in all directions.

At the house directly behind the gunfight, three children played on a porch.

And one woman ran into the line of fire to try to save them.

Today we begin a three-part series about the incident, and look at how the dramatic rise of gun crimes in Muskegon is putting more kids at risk.

DETROIT (AP) - Supporters of a statewide student safety hotline modeled after a Colorado program established in the wake of the 1999 Columbine High School massacre hope to clear a final hurdle once schools resume.

Gov. Rick Snyder signed a budget bill this month that includes money to develop and run the OK-2-SAY hotline for anonymous reports of threats and violence. But the green light to launch it requires legislative action by Michigan House after lawmakers return in late August.


All this week, Bridge Magazine has run a series of in-depth stories delving into Michigan's gun culture.

Guns in Michigan explores a wide range of questions including what happens at the point where gun rights and public safety intersect?

And how pervasive is gun violence in Michigan?

Pat Shellenbarger wrote the series.

He's a writer based in West Michigan. If his name sounds familiar, it could be because he was a reporter and editor at the Detroit News as well as The Grand Rapids Press and the St Petersburg Times.

He joined us on Stateside today, listen to the audio above.

Location of L'Anse Creuse High School.
Google Maps

Just in case you were thinking about it, you might want to reconsider walking into a school at 6 a.m. dressed in camouflage, a flak jacket, and a holster.

When a 21-year-old airman from the Selfridge Air National Guard appeared at L'Anse Creuse High School in Harrison Twp. this morning, he caused several schools to shutdown.

From the Port Huron Times Herald:

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Arrests down as violent crimes rise in Detroit

Even though violent crime is up in Detroit, less people are getting arrested, the Detroit News reports.

"The fourth quarter of 2012 saw significantly fewer arrests in most precincts and districts compared with previous years — and the largest declines were in some of the city's most crime-ridden areas. . . Some inside the Detroit Police Department blame low officer morale."

Kilpatrick trial to wrap up today

"Courtroom proceedings in ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s federal corruption case should wrap up today. Prosecutors spent months making a painstaking case against Kwame Kilpatrick, his father Bernard, and longtime friend and city contractor Bobby Ferguson. The government says the men ran Detroit city government like a criminal enterprise for years. They all face a number of federal charges, including conspiracy and extortion," Sarah Cwiek reports.

Lansing police gun buyback collects 122 firearms

"Lansing police say their latest gun buyback program has brought in 122 firearms. The Lansing State Journal reports that people turned in 73 handguns, 47 long guns and two assault or military style guns," The Associated Press Reports.

Dawud Walid / Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations

A Michigan group wants gun shops to stop selling targets that depict a man wearing traditional Muslim attire. 

The paper target shows the skeleton of a  bearded man wearing a turban and robe, holding an assault rifle.

Dawud Walid is with the Michigan Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. He says he bought a couple of the targets at a Royal Oak gun shop.

Walid says he introduced himself to the store owner, and explained his concern that the targets could encourage violence against Muslims.