In response to Ross Dykmans misinformed letter about the Carried Concealed Weapon (CCW) petition drive (Not all gun owners are extremists, SN 2/21), I would simply like to make a few clarifications.
The purpose of the petition drive is not to overturn Dykmans precious lame-duck CCW law. Although many would like to see it overturned, its purpose is to put the law on the ballot in November 2002.
I believe Michigan voters should determine whether 200,000 to 300,000 more handguns should be introduced into our shared public spaces - not Dykman, his lobbying organization or the National Rifle Association, which also helped to pressure legislators to pass the bill with a minimum of publicity.
Dykman calls supporters of the petition drive extremists who badger, cajole and trick people into signing. The drive has the support of more than 30 respected organizations in law enforcement, education and business, including the Michigan State Police Troopers Association and the Michigan Association of Police - hardly extremists.
Furthermore, in regard to Dykmans contention that signature-collectors are pushing petitions in the faces of him and his family, weve been carefully instructed to simply ask people if they are registered voters and if they would like to sign. If they say no, we move on to other people.
To the business owners who prohibit signature-collectors on their premises, I would encourage them to read the new CCW law that Dykman and his organization pushed through the Legislature. Theyll find they have no right to prohibit CCW holders from their property once the law goes into effect July 1, unless they own a bar or a sporting arena with 2,500 or more spectators in attendance.
Finally, I would like to point out to the MSU community that once the law goes into effect, people will be able to lawfully carry concealed handguns on this campus, the only restricted areas being dorms and classrooms. Libraries, grounds, offices and most sporting events will soon be open to more guns. If you dont think this is necessary or if you disagree with the new law, I encourage you to sign the petition. Theres nothing wrong with wanting to keep guns off the street.
Spanish graduate student