guns

Politics & Government
8:40 am
Mon December 17, 2012

Commentary: Guns and schools

Lessenberry commentary for 12/17/12

The headline in one of the Detroit papers today says that in the aftermath of the Connecticut tragedy, schools are struggling to reassure children that they are safe.  Well, I hate to be a downer, but they aren’t.

True -- the odds are heavily against any particular school being attacked by a gunman. But it could happen, and, as we all know, almost certainly will happen again.

We’ve seen this, over and over. What is a little different this time is that, as of this morning, legislation was sitting on Governor Snyder’s desk that would allow those with concealed weapons permits to bring guns into schools.

And not just schools -- churches, synagogues and hospitals, day-care centers and sports stadiums. Friday, after we knew that 20 first graders had been murdered in their classrooms, the governor said he all that gave him “serious pause,” and said he was wondering if, in view of all this, signing it was “appropriate.”

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Politics & Government
7:06 am
Mon December 17, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Snyder says Connecticut shooting will play role in Michigan gun legislation

"Governor Rick Snyder must decide whether to approve or veto legislation that would allow concealed pistols in churches, day care centers, and public schools. The governor says the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings will play a role in his thinking. The legislation would allow enhanced concealed pistol privileges for licenseholders who get additional training and range practice," Rick Pluta reports.

Police force down in Michigan

The number of police officers in Michigan is down 16 percent since 2001. As the Detroit News reports,

"Michigan has lost roughly 1 in 5 law enforcement officers since 2001, as a lingering recession led cash-strapped cities and townships to lay off police, trim services and, in some cases, turn over patrols to county sheriffs. The state's law enforcement ranks dropped to 18,834 as of Oct. 31 from 22,488 in 2001, says the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards."

No plan for Detroit's cash crunch

"Lansing is fast-tracking a review of Detroit’s finances, but there’s still no clear short-term plan to address the city's cash crunch. The review process is taking place under a weaker state law than one Governor Snyder is likely to sign soon. That means there are fewer options for dealing with the city’s immediate fiscal crisis. A preliminary state report issued last week found that Detroit 'continues to experience significant cash flow problems.' But the report also notes that 'city projections change from month to month,' and it’s not clear when Detroit would actually run short of cash," Sarah Cwiek reports.

Guns
12:47 pm
Tue June 12, 2012

Gun advocates protest teen's arrest in SE Michigan

Sean Combs was arrested in April while carrying an M-1 rifle in Birmingham
user Curiosandrelics wikimedia commons

A group wielding handguns and rifles is  probably not something you'd expect to see often in the upscale Detroit suburb of Birmingham, but following the recent gun-related arrest of an area teen, gun rights supporters decided to protest there by packing heat in public.

Sean Combs, 18, was arrested in April while strolling down Old Woodward Ave. with an M-1 rifle. Combs faces misdemeanor charges of brandishing a weapon, resisting and obstructing police, and disturbing the peace, but his supporters say he was within his rights to openly carry the weapon.

As the Detroit News reports, gun advocates gathered last night in Birmingham and packed a town commission meeting with their firearms on full display, even though the commission had no plans to discuss Combs' case.

From the News:

Gun enthusiasts and supporters of "open carry" flocked to the regularly scheduled meeting of the commission, which was not expected to take action or address the charges, to voice their opposition...

"Why ruin the life of an 18-year-old man for the actions of an overzealous police officer?" said John Roshek, president of the Citizens League for Self Defense, a group that works to educate people on their Second Amendment rights and open carry...

In April, Birmingham Police Chief Don Studt acknowledged the constitutionality of Combs' decision to carry his gun, but said "this guy was creating a disturbance and he wouldn't cooperate."

Birmingham Mayor Mark Mickita said he appreciates public input, the News writes, but maintained that "the issue has gone to the courts."

-John Klein Wilson, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Politics
12:10 pm
Tue May 1, 2012

Organizers hope to make Michigan fifth "Constitutional Carry" state

user Joshuashearn wikimedia commons

The Citizens League for Self-Defense plans to hold a "Constitutional Carry" rally in Lansing on May 19.

Their goal is to strip the laws in Michigan that limit a person's ability to carry a concealed handgun.

They're also organizing a petition drive.

The rally comes as Michigan lawmakers debate legislation that would allow permit holders to carry concealed handguns in places where concealed guns are currently off-limits under the law, such as sports stadiums, churches, and schools, so long as they get extra training.

MLive's John Barnes reports, "organizers of the rally would like to take that a step further":

 “We feel that the political climate is getting right for being able to recognize constitutional carry in Michigan,” said John Roshek, president of the Citizens League for Self Defense.

“The goal of the rally is to get Michigan to be the fifth constitutional carry state in the country.”

Currently Alaska, Arizona, Vermont, and Wyoming allow the carrying of concealed firearms without restrictions.

The Citizens League for Self-Defense says the constitution is clear:

The 2nd Amendment is clear, the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. It does not state "Unless you have a license or permission". Until our 2A rights are restored nationwide we support CPL's for the purpose of reciprocity with other states, but they should not be a requirement to carry a concealed pistol.

The amendment states:

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

And here's how that amendment has been interpreted over time from FindLaw.com.

*Correction - an earlier post was titled "Organizers hope to make Michigan sixth 'Constitutional Carry' state." We changed it to "fifth" to reflect states that have no restrictions. Depending on how you count, some count Montana in the group. We also clarified language pertaining to "gun free zones" in Michigan.

Politics
1:49 pm
Wed March 21, 2012

Changes coming to Michigan's concealed handgun law?

JMR Photography Flickr

John Barnes at MLive.com reports today on potential new changes coming for Michigan's concealed handgun law.

The details of the proposal are expected to be taken up tomorrow morning in the Michigan Senate's Natural Resources, Environment and Great Lakes Committee.

The changes could allow license holders who receive extra training to carry handguns in places currently off-limits under the law, such as sports stadiums, churches, and schools.

Barnes writes that the proposed measure hopes to increase the accuracy of reports on permit holders who violate the law:

Additional measures in the bill are aimed at ensuring mandatory annual reports on permit holders who run afoul of the law are more accurate.

The MLive investigation last summer found many prosecutors and clerks refused to do them. Those that did frequently made mistakes, under-reporting convictions and revocations for gun- and non-gun crimes.

Commentary
10:58 am
Thu March 1, 2012

Detroit Crime: Blame the Guns

Earlier this week, while we were paying a lot of attention to the presidential primary race, many of the big shots in Detroit turned out for a baby’s funeral. Delric Waymon Miller died when a gunman riddled his home with bullets from an AK-47.

That was, by the way, the standard assault rifle used by our ancient enemy, the old Soviet Union. The USSR is as dead as a dinosaur, but its weapons are still killing Americans.

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Commentary
11:08 am
Tue November 15, 2011

A Question of Guns

Yesterday was the twentieth anniversary of what was once a nationally famous tragedy; the post office shootings in Royal Oak, Michigan, in which five people died. This was one in a series of similar shootings, which left our language with the memorable term, “going postal.” The Detroit Free Press had an anniversary story about the event, together with the latest installment in their series “Living With Murder.” Well over 3,000 people have been murdered in Detroit in the last decade, almost all of them shot to death.

The newspaper looked at these killings and explored ways to try to stop them.  They wrote about neighborhood groups and citizens who go patrolling with the police.

Mayor Dave Bing said it was a problem of our young people getting “caught up in this violent culture,” and said we needed to stop showing disrespect for each other. I guess he thinks if we all do that and take a few moments to read the gospels, or maybe Martin Niemoller, we’ll be less likely to shoot strangers in the head.

Which may be true, but isn’t really very much of a practical solution. What was almost unbelievable to me, however, was that  there was no mention of doing something about the real problem: Guns. Disrespect doesn‘t kill people. Guns kill people.

Not every murder is committed with a gun. There will always be murders, at least until humans become extinct. But it would be hard to kill 21 people in a restaurant with an axe, and impossible to kill someone with a butcher knife who is three hundred yards away.

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Grand Rapids
10:44 am
Fri November 4, 2011

Report: Gun training continued after stray bullets

GRAND HAVEN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - Police reports say Grand Valley State University officers continued firearms training at a West Michigan gun range after a first report that stray bullets may have struck a home about a half-mile away.

The Grand Rapids Press reports Friday that the documents it obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that the officers were midway through a training session Sept. 29 when a man drove up saying his house had been hit by two bullets.

The police reports say officers at the North Ottawa Rod and Gun Club's rifle range in Grand Haven Township relocated training to an adjacent pistol range.

Later police would learn a contractor working in a nearby development was wounded in the arm.

Allendale-based Grand Valley State University says it's launched an internal investigation.

Politics
1:50 pm
Tue April 5, 2011

Empty holsters on campus in protest of gun laws

A student group is protesting concealed weapons not being allowed on Michigan's college campuses being
photo by Sarah Alvarez/Michigan Radio

Some college students are protesting the state’s gun laws by carrying empty holsters on campus this week. “Students for Concealed Carry” is a national group behind the annual protest. There are protests this week at Grand Valley State University, Ferris State University and Central Michigan University.

The groups say people with valid concealed weapons permits should be able to carry concealed guns on campuses around the state. Colleges and Universities ** are on the list of nine “pistol free zones”.

Reid Smith is the Michigan State Director of Students for Concealed Carry

"You’re only taking about allowing lawful gun owners to carry their firearms on college campuses and you’re not talking about the criminals. The criminals aren’t going to obey the gun free zone laws anyway."

Michigan’s house and senate are considering bills this year on whether or not to do away with the pistol free zones.

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Commentary
3:43 pm
Thu January 27, 2011

Guns in Church

Newly elected State Senator Mike Green, who comes from beet-growing country in Michigan’s thumb, seems to be a good and decent man. He was a tool and die maker for General Motors for thirty years, and operated a family farm most of that time.

He’s had the same wife for forty-three years; raised five kids and has more than enough grandchildren for two baseball teams.

The senator also owns a business that would make Abraham Lincoln proud -- Green’s Log Rails and Custom Log Furniture. Like Honest Abe, he is a Republican, and lacks college education. But he is very enthusiastic about guns.

So much so, that he has introduced legislation to allow people with concealed weapons permits to take guns everywhere -- churches, synagogues, bars, Joe Louis Arena. He thinks banning guns anywhere is outrageous. “Why do you need to give your Constitutional right away when you go to some places?“ he asks.

There are a number of ways to answer that, but the easiest and simplest is that there is no Constitutional right to take a weapon anywhere. That’s not a left-wing anti-gun point of view.

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