Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder says he's giving close scrutiny to gun legislation that would allow concealed weapons in churches and schools.
Snyder tells The Associated Press during an interview Monday that his public safety concerns have been heightened and "deserve extra consideration" following a mass shooting that left 26 people -- including 20 children -- dead at a Connecticut elementary school.
The bill sent to the Republican governor by the GOP-controlled Legislature would allow someone who gets extra training to have a concealed weapon in a gun-free zone.
It also would put county sheriffs in charge of concealed-weapons applications instead of local boards.
President Barack Obama on Sunday pledged to seek change in memory of those ruthlessly slain by the gunman packing a high-powered rifle in Friday's mass shooting.
"Michigan's CPL [concealed pistol license] law was first implemented in 1927 and last updated in 2001," said state Sen. Mike Green, sponsor of the bill, Senate Bill 59. "A lot has changed in the last 85 years and even more in the last 12 years, but this law hasn't kept pace. SB 59 modernizes the CPL process, improves service to taxpayers and strengthens CPL training requirements so that Michigan will have the strongest training standard in the nation."
Perhaps the most significant reform in the bill deals with the training and the so-called "pistol free zones." The bill strengthens the training required to get a CPL and closes a loophole in state law that allows open carry in the zones.
Under Michigan law, an individual with a CPL may carry a firearm into areas like schools, hospitals and entertainment facilities, if the firearm is open and visible, but not if it is concealed.
SB 59 closes this loophole in the zones and only allows concealed carry if a person gets double the training they already have and is granted an exemption by their sheriff.
"We're not repealing the zones," Green commented. "We're simply making Michigan law for a concealed pistol license consistent and doing so in a responsible way with more training."
All private property owners, whether commercial, residential or non-profit, could still prohibit firearms on their property and enforce it through Michigan's trespassing laws.
Copyright 2012 WNEM (Meredith Corporation.) All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.