SB59 to be heard in House Committee tomorrow

by Reid K Smith on December 11, 2012

Update: SB59 passed the House on December 13th. Having already passed the Senate, the bill was enrolled by the Senate and sent to Governor Snyder for his signature. However Governor Snyder vetoed SB59 on December 18th. We find Governor Snyder’s decision to preserve “gun free” zones – areas in which only criminals are permitted to carry concealed firearms – reprehensible and deserving of your scorn. Please let Gov. Snyder know how you feelYou can read a full summary of the final bill on our Complete Guide to SB59 post

All the pressure you’ve helped us put on House Natural Resources Committee Chair Frank Foster has paid off! Rep. Foster, who previously pulled SB59 from committee, has now agreed to hear the bill TOMORROW. That’s Wednesday, December 12th, at 8.30am, in Room 426 of the Capitol Building (Committee Page). Rep. Foster (FrankFoster@house.mi.gov) deserves your thanks for his support of SB59.

If possible, attend the committee meeting and voice your support for SB59. Fill out a speaker card when you enter the room, and mark that you support SB59.

We expect SB59 to pass committee, and when it does, the full House will have to vote on it. That means that Speaker Jase Bolger (JaseBolger@house.mi.gov) will have to call the bill to a vote. This is the only potential roadblock to passage of SB59. It’s extremely important that you email Rep. Bolger ASAP and ask him to call SB59 to a vote. The House may only be in session for two more days, so those emails need to go out as soon as possible. Remember, all you need is a short email. Something along the lines of “I support SB59 because [your reason here]. Please call SB59 to a vote so that it can be passed and put in front of the Governor. Gun owners won’t forget your support!” Keep it short and sweet!

Finally, there has been some talk of a clause in the modified version of SB59 that ‘allows colleges to ban guns.’ This is absolutely, positively false. Nothing of the sort is true. The clause some people are referring to says:

Nothing in this section prohibits a college or university that has the autonomous authority under the state constitution of 1963 to enact and enforce an ordinance regulating the possession, carrying, use, or transportation of a pistol from enacting or enforcing such an ordinance.

As you can see, this merely reaffirms the right of three universities – The University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and Wayne State University – to continue to enforce ordinances regarding firearms. An ordinance is not the equivalent of a law, and holds no legal penalties in the traditional sense of the word. As Michigan SCC and the Michigan State Police have continued to stress to colleges, they cannot make and enforce laws concerning firearms. The truth is, if we could get more universities to acknowledge that these are ordinances and not laws – as the above clause does – we’d be one step closer to winning our fight. Our lawyers – as well as those working for other Michigan Second Amendment groups – have reassured us that this clause has no negative effect on any upcoming potential preemption battles. Unfortunately, that’s all the detail that we can get into for now.

It’s also important to remember that the clause above was  a compromise – Governor Snyder demanded a harmful clause be added that would have given Universities the ability to prohibit firearms. However, Senator Mike Green (contact him here) stood by Michigan SCC and refused to make such a modification. The above clause was carefully drafted to ensure that it protected the rights of college students. That’s an enormous act of loyalty and integrity on Senator Green’s part, and we all owe him a proper thank you.

It’s been a long battle. One way or another, the fight to pass SB59 will be over in a few days, when the current legislative session ends. Let’s ensure that it ends with the passage of the most important gun bill since Michigan became a shall-issue state. Help us keep college students safe, and email Rep. Bolger (JaseBolger@house.mi.gov), asking him to hear SB59 today.

Remember, you can always get the most up-to-date information on SB59 on our Facebook page. For more information on SB59, see our Pending Legislation page. The full text of the current version of SB59 can be found here

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