Gov. Snyder Re-evaluates Concealed Weapons Laws in Wake of Newtown Tragedy
Michigan's governor tells reporters the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre gives him 'clear pause' on legislation that could allow gun owners with concealed weapons permits to carry inside schools.
Gov. Rick Snyder said Monday that he's not necessarily ready to sign off on Senate Bill 59 which would broaden Michigan's concealed-carry laws.
"I wouldn't say I'm prepared to sign it by any means," the Republican governor told MLive.com.
The bill, approved by the State Senate in late November and the State House just hours before Friday's shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, CT, allows gun owners with concealed weapon permits and additional training to carry firearms in schools, daycare centers and sporting events.
Several local school districts opposed the measure even before the tragedy that claimed 27 lives, including 20 children, and in the aftermath, other opponents entered the fray.
During an appearance on NBC's 'Meet the Press" Sunday, Randi Weingarten, president of the national American Federation of Teachers, urged Snyder to veto the legislation. The organization reiterated the appeal in a formal letter to Snyder that was shared with membership and media on Monday.
The Newtown shooting is a “chilling and heartbreaking reminder” that “firearms have absolutely no place in our schools,” they wrote. "You can set an example for Michigan and the nation by taking this small but significant step to reduce gun violence.
Snyder did not address the letter, but told MLive.com the incident prompted more questions.
"I haven't made a decision one way or another on it ... I need to see what it says," he said. "But the shooting gives you clear pause to say, 'Would this be appropriate?' That was a terrible thing to happen."
State Sen. John Pappageorge, R-Troy, said he won't think twice about supporting the legislation, which still allows individual schools to post and implement policies prohibiting concealed weapons. He also cautioned against knee-jerk legislative reaction to tragedies fueled by people with criminal intent.
"There may be many that feel if a principal or a teacher that is trained in the use of pistol wants to have a weapon within the school doors, it's probably not a bad idea," he said.