New Michigan gun legislation likely won't affect MSU
The Michigan Senate approved legislation last Wednesday that will allow the concealed carry of handguns in Michigan schools, churches and other public places that normally do not permit them. Senate Bills 584-586 passed in the Senate 25-12 and are now moving to the House.
Though this will apply to most public universities in the state, MSU, U-M and Wayne State University would still have the constitutional power to regulate guns on campus if the legislation passes, according to an article by the Detroit Free Press. And at MSU, the possession of any firearm or weapon anywhere on property that is governed by the board of trustees is prohibited unless they are being stored with the Department of Police and Public Safety. There are still 12 more public universities in Michigan that this proposed legislation would apply to.
“There’s not a lot of proof that firearms on campus will deter shootings or the campus shooters we’re all afraid of," criminal justice associate professor April Zeoli said. "But there is a whole lot of evidence to suggest that negative consequences could occur if firearms are allowed on campus. And those negative consequences are quite severe.”
Zeoli, who is an expert in gun control, said that this will affect the safety of students. With high rates of drinking on college campuses, possible accidents as well as potential arguments that could lead to gun violence while intoxicated are some of the concerns. There are also concerns regarding the rate of suicide.
“This age group, college students, tend to have pretty high rates of depression and suicide," Zeoli said. "And if they have ready access to firearms, then any suicide attempts they might make are that much more lethal.”
Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, who introduced the bill, noted that mass shootings occur in these kinds of gun-free zones and that "citizens have the right to be safe and secure and defend themselves and their loved ones," in the article by the Detroit Free Press.
But Zeoli doesn't see handguns as something college students can use efficiently for defense. It takes a lot of training and skill to be able to react quickly, appropriately and accurately when attempting to use the weapon to hit the shooter.
“If we had a circumstance where a shooter just walked into a classroom and started shooting ...you catch people off guard, and there are bound to be casualties," Zeoli said. "There is an idea out there that a person with a gun is able to somehow have the reflexes and marksmanship of extremely skilled military members.”
It is unclear when the legislation will be discussed in the House.
"This is an obvious statement, but you can’t have a shooting with no gun," Zeoli said.