October 19, 2009

LANSING, MI – A state House Committee says it will hold a hearing tomorrow morning on a dangerous measure that would force all public colleges and universities in Michigan to allow many students 21 and over to carry loaded, hidden handguns into college classrooms. Similar bills have been killed 34 times in 22 states in the past two years.

The bill that will be considered by the House Committee on Tourism, Outdoor Recreation and Natural Resources, HB 5474, was introduced by Traverse City Republican House member Wayne Schmidt. The bill, if passed, would prohibit any institution of higher education from enforcing any ordinance or regulation on “possession of pistols or other firearms, ammunition for pistols or other firearms, or components of pistols or other firearms, except as otherwise provided by federal law or a law of this state.”

“America’s college campuses are among the safest environments for students because they do not permit guns on their premises,” said Andy Pelosi, president of GunFreeKids.org and head of The Campaign to Keep Guns off Campus. “We need to keep guns off college campuses, not bring in more guns.”

“We need to do more to make it harder for dangerous people to get dangerous weapons,” said Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. “Michigan should reject this bill, just as all other states have done.”

Similar bills have been categorically rejected, over and over, for the past two and a half years since the Virginia Tech tragedy where a student brought guns into classrooms and murdered 32 students and teachers. All told, 34 independent efforts by the National Rifle Association and Students for Concealed Carry on Campus to pass guns-on-campus bills in 22 different states have failed miserably, with even ultra-conservative state legislative leaders who have been longtime reliable allies of the NRA opposing the idea. The broad opposition to such bills included students and universities who felt under attack.