Republican Michigan Governor Rick Snyder vetoed a bill Tuesday afternoon that would have allowed concealed pistols to be carried in schools and other places where they had been banned. The bill would also have allowed pistol owners, after additional training and obtaining proper permits, to carry their weapons in places of worship, schools, day care centers, and stadiums.
In a letter to the Michigan Legislature, Governor Snyder said that Michigan needs a more comprehensive review of its gun policies. He said he vetoed the bill because it had no provision for public spaces to opt out of the concealed-carry plan. "Unfortunately, the bill did not allow 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."
Snyder said that Friday's school shooting was a factor "for a thorough review of [the bill]."
"This type of violence often leaves society with more questions than answers. 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."
The Michigan legislature's approved the legislation last Thursday, one day before the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting. NPR reported that the governor's office had received more than 6,000 phone calls, emails and web messages about the shooting, urging him to veto the bill and keep concealed guns out of Michigan's public schools. Snyder spoke to Detroit Public Television after the shootings, where he admitted the massacre would play a role in his consideration of the bill.
"You can't have it not impact you and my thoughts and prayers go with everyone in Connecticut. I know that we all share that view."
While some lawmakers are proposing more stringent gun control laws banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, the NRA has also come out of the dark, issuing its first statement since Friday's tragedy. "Out of respect for the families, and as a matter of common decency, we have given time for mourning, prayer and a full investigation of the facts before commenting. The NRA is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again."
President Obama spoke out today in support of Senator Dianne Feinstein's bill to ban assault weapons. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in his Tuesday briefing that the president also plans to back a law to tighten the regulations governing the sale of firearms at gun shows. The president also spoke on the phone with Senator Joe Manchin, a gun rights advocate who said on msnbc's Morning Joe that he will support tougher gun laws in light of the Connecticut shootings.
Governor Snyder's statement went on to explain his decision.
"While we must vigilantly protect the rights of law-abiding firearm owners, we also must ensure the right of designated public entities to exercise their best discretion in matters of safety and security," he said. "These public venues need clear legal authority to ban firearms on their premises if they see fit to do so."
While the governor rejected Senate Bill 59, he did not reject two other bills dealing with guns. Snyder signed one "to streamline the process for handgun purchases" and another to "eliminate restrictions on interstate rifle and shotgun transactions to states contiguous to Michigan."