SPS Officials Pass Resolution Asking MI Legislature To Close Concealed Weapons Law Loophole
Just as the first year anniversary of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School approaches on December 14, the local school district officials are taking steps to make their schools “gun free zones”.
The effort, say Saugatuck Public Schools’ (SPS) officials is to provide a more safe environment for students and an environment more conducive to learning.
Last week the SPS Board of Education passed a resolution asking the Michigan legislature to close a loophole in the existing state law that allows Concealed Pistol License holders to openly carry holstered pistols in and around schools.
The school district is also mulling over the merits and values of drafting a Weapons Free Zone policy for its schools.
“We do not feel it is appropriate for anyone other than police officers to be in our facilities with a gun,” SPS Superintendent Rolfe Timmerman recently told The Observer Newspapers.
“Our front-line office workers should not have to figure out who can or can not openly carry a pistol in our schools. If our legislature can pass hundreds of bills during a two-week lame duck session, they certainly can get this loophole fixed,” Current Michigan law prohibits the possession of firearms in banks, places of worship, courts, theaters, sports arenas, day care centers, hospitals and bars. However, the same law is not applied to public schools.
The resolution states: “The Saugatuck Public Schools’ Board of Education urges Michigan’s legislators to clearly, urgently and explicitly codify in law that schools are gun free zones, and that only people allowed to carry weapons in Michigan schools are the uniformed members of our police and armed forces.”
Without this loophole being closed, the local policy the school is thinking about and reviewing has little value.
“Writing a Weapons Free Zone policy, as we are researching this, will do nothing to change the reality that someone with a concealed weapons permit, by law, has the right to open carry,” said Timmerman.
“Right now we are just looking at the policy the Rockford Public Schools put in place. The board is looking at this, our current policies that speak about weapons in schools and digesting all the material to see if it would make sense to write a specific Weapons Free Zone policy.”
Asked if the school was working with local police, Timmerman noted, “I have had conversations with Chief (Ken) Giles on the Open Carry situation. The Saugatuck-Douglas Police Department will be called if someone walks in to one of our facilities with an open carry pistol.”
“We will continue to work with our local police department on this issue as well as communicating with our elected officials, Representative Genetski and Senator Jones, to codify in law that schools should be Gun Free Zones.”