Senate Bill 59 makes a number of wise and necessary reforms to Michigan’s weapons laws. The bill provides for an enhanced Concealed Pistol License that would require additional training. It would streamline the Concealed Pistol License process by eliminating county gun boards and vesting issuing authority with the sheriff.
More important, SB 59 addresses a feature of Michigan law that needs fixing --- Michigan’s open carry law. The law currently prohibits a concealed pistol license holder from carrying a concealed weapon in a “pistol-free zone,” which includes a school, a day care center, a sports stadium, a bar, a church, a hospital, an entertainment facility, and a college classroom or dormitory. Ironically, current law does not prevent a concealed pistol license holder from openly carrying a pistol at these places.
My original hope with Senate Bill 59 was to reach a compromise by prohibiting the open carry of pistols in the above-mentioned pistol-free zones in exchange for lifting the prohibition on the carrying of concealed weapons in those zones---subject to the approval of the public or private property owners.
The resulting bill only went part way in achieving that goal. The bill would allow private property owners to prohibit a person from carrying a concealed pistol on their private property. It permits certain universities and colleges to adopt an ordinance prohibiting the carrying of a concealed pistol. Unfortunately, the bill did not allow public schools, public day care centers, or public hospitals to prohibit persons from carrying concealed weapons on their premises. For that reason, I am vetoing Senate Bill 59.
I believe that it is important that these public institutions have clear legal authority to ban weapons from their premises. Each is entrusted with the care of a vulnerable population and should have the authority to determine whether its mission would be enhanced by the addition of concealed weapons.
Download Veto. (PDF)