Dear Douglas Jones:
Thank you for your recent correspondence sent to my office.
Senate Bill 59 offered a number of wise and necessary reforms to Michigan's weapon laws. The bill provided 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 looked at 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 sport 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 these 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, day care centers, or public hospitals to prohibit persons from carrying concealed weapons on their premises. For that reason, I have vetoed Senate Bill 59.
I believe 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.
This conversation is likely to continue over the coming months. I hope you'll continue to share your comments and concerns with my office.