A Michigan legislative committee has voted to let people with extra training carry guns inside churches, schools and other places now off limits.
The bills were approved Tuesday, two days after a gunman killed 26 people at a Texas church. The full Senate plans to vote as early as Wednesday. Republican Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed legislation in 2012 that would have allowed concealed pistol license holders with additional training to carry in gun-free zones.
Proponents say the zones are a "target-rich environment" for mass shooters. Critics say authorizing guns in the areas would make those places less safe.
Under Michigan law, it is illegal for the nearly 618,000 people with concealed weapon permits to carry in designated gun-free zones such as schools, day care centers, taverns and casinos.
"This ability to conceal carry both in public buildings and at public events is really disturbing to me," said Kathy Stewart, superintendent of the Saginaw Intermediate School District.
The legislation making its way through the halls of the state capitol would allow registered gun owners, who meet certain training requirements, to conceal carry in gun free zones including schools, hospitals and churches.
Stewart thinks it is a bad idea. She said there have been cases where even professional gun owners have had mishaps.
"Look at what happened at Bay City Western High School last year with a trained law enforcement officer that had extensive training in carrying a gun. I think the gun accidentally went off in a classroom. Accidents can happen," Stewart said.
Although Snyder vetoed a similar bill in 2012, there is no indication how it will go this time around. Stewart hopes history repeats itself.
"There's all kinds of possibilities when guns come into schools. I do not believe guns belong in schools," Stewart said.
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