Debate over open carry continues - WNEM TV 5

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Debate over open carry continues

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LANSING, MI (WNEM) -

Some people see a gun as capable of killing dozens of people in minutes, while others see it as a way to stop a killer.

Where residents stand is a raging debate across the nation, including Michigan.

Based on the current state law, residents can openly carry large guns near homes and schools.

“I think we’ve created vacuums in gun free zones that disallows anyone that’s honest to carry a gun there,” State Senator Mike Green R-Mayville said.

Green said he’s pro Second Amendment.

However, that hasn’t stopped him from taking a look at ending open carry in safe zones, like schools.

“Most folks don’t get upset except there’s areas (where) there are closed doors and it creates problems. So that’s some of the things we’re trying to absolve here,” Green said.

Some on the other side of the aisle, like State Rep. Jeff Irwin D-Ann Arbor, want to take it even further.

“It shouldn’t be that we are relying on private citizens to really act as vigilantes,” Irwin said.

Open carry is when people display their gun to others, like carrying it on your hip. Concealed carry is when the public can’t see the gun, like carrying it in a jacket or in a handbag.

Irwin said open carry rallies are not helpful and cause controversy in his district.

“We’ve had people open carrying, walking up to the school with rifles over their shoulders, guns on their hips. And what they do is shut the school down,” Irwin said.

TV5 uncovered there’s places, like the State Capitol in Lansing, where residents have the right to open carry anything from a small handgun to a high-powered rifle.

Some state lawmakers, like former State Rep. Todd Courser, admitted to carrying inside the Capitol.

“The idea that people were sort of threatened by that is because in reality we’ve gotten accustomed to not seeing guns,” Courser said.

Courser, a self-proclaimed constitutional Republican, believes the state should expand open carry. He doesn’t agree with Green’s proposal or Irwin’s approach.

Some critics worried what someone in Courser’s position might do with a gun at the Capitol when the news of his scandal made headlines.

“You’re allowed to have your constitutional rights right up to the point where you violate mine. So we have to be respectful of each other’s position in regards to the constitution,” Courser said.

Green’s bill recently passed committee and is awaiting a full legislature vote. That bill would allow for concealed carry in safe zones. That included churches, bars and schools.

Green feels it could be a happy medium that might cut down on gun violence and the distractions open carry can cause.

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