Ok here's the original article
Michigan universities could allow guns in classrooms, dormitories under new Senate bill - AnnArbor.com
With poll: Michigan universities could allow guns in classrooms, dormitories under new Senate bill
Posted: 6:05 a.m. December 21, 2009
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.Michigan universities shouldn't be able to pick and choose which constitutional amendments apply to them - and that includes the right to bear arms, a state senator from Monroe County says.
"Universities shouldn't be allowed to choose what parts of the constitution they think are good enough for them or not," said Sen. Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, whose district includes southern Washtenaw County. "It would be tantamount to saying illegal search and seizure can be allowed on a college campus."
George Mason University student and former active duty Marine Andrew Dysart stands on the George Mason campus with an empty holster in Fairfax, Va. In the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings, Dysart is advocated the right of students with concealed handgun permits to carry guns on campus for protection. Photo: The Associated Press
Richardville sponsored Senate Bill 747, which would give universities the discretion - but not force them - to allow individuals with permits to carry concealed guns in classrooms and dormitories. The Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony on the bill earlier this month, but took no action and won't meet again until Jan 1.
That legislation has prompted talk of revising Richardville's bill to eliminate all designated gun-free zones - including theaters, stadiums, hospitals, classrooms and dormitories, said State Sen. Wayne Kuipers, R-Holland, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
"The testimony was mixed and sparked a broad debate," Kuipers said. "There's discussion now on whether or not Michigan should eliminate all its gun-free zones."
Currently, the local boards that govern Michigan's universities and community colleges can pass policies on whether guns are allowed - carried by a concealed weapon license holder or otherwise - on campus. State law bans the institutions from allowing guns in gun-free zones such as classrooms, dormitories and stadiums. SB 747 would remove classrooms and dormitories from that list.
Michigan State University is the only of the state's 15 public universities to allow concealed pistol license holders to bring firearms on campus, except for the banned areas. Southwestern Michigan College is the only of 28 community colleges in that allows the same.
Richardville said beyond the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the Michigan Constitution dictates individuals have "a right to keep and bear arms for the defense of himself and the state."
Officials from Washtenaw Community College, the University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University have condemned legislation that would allow concealed permit holders to carry anywhere on campus.
To obtain a concealed weapons permit, a person must be a 21 years old, a U.S. citizen and a Michigan resident for at least six months, with some exceptions. Applicants must have a record clear of various crimes, a clean bill of mental health and complete a safety training course.
"One of the things that came up were the shootings down in Virginia Tech," Richardville said. "The professor in that class was a CPL holder. His university did not allow him, because of a no-gun rule, to have his concealed with him. It was in his car, in the parking lot locked up. He was murdered and so were 31 other people."
Lobbyists from the Michigan Community Colleges Association and the Presidents Council, State Universities of Michigan, testified against the bill.
"Nobody is intending to violate someone's national constitutional rights," said Michael Hansen, president of the MCCA. "On the other hand, we want to be able to recognize that all of those rights come with certain natural restrictive conditions."
And local boards should have control over student conduct on their campuses, Hansen said.
A separate measure that would also change laws regulating guns on campus, House Bill 5474, is now waiting in a House committee, where one of its sponsors, Rep. Joel Sheltrown, D-West Branch, says it will stay while he educates the public about what the bill really does.
The House measure would allow concealed pistol license holders to have guns on roads, sidewalks, green space and other open spaces on campus, but not in closed campus spaces like museums, student unions, dormitories or classrooms.
The bills have sparked debate on local college campuses.
At U-M, the Michigan Student Assembly passed a resolution condemning the HB 5474.
"Having concealed weapons on campus is not something we endorse," MSA President Abhishek Mahanti said.
The majority of students who spoke about the bills at a November panel discussion at EMU opposed changing laws to allow concealed weapons permit holders to carry guns on campus.
Sheltrown said he's been inundated with e-mails in recent months, and most of them either opposed the bill or confused the House bill with one that would allow guns everywhere on campus.
"If the public has concerns, we can slow this process down and address those concerns to make sure everyone understands," he said. "This could be a very long process."
And not all students oppose the measures.
U-M history senior Julian Lizzio is a member of Students for Concealed Carry, a volunteer group of activists that supports expanding gun rights on college campuses. It has 42,000 members on its Facebook page.
"Our group supports allowing qualified individuals with concealed pistol licenses to do on campus what they do everywhere else," Lizzio said. "We don't think campus is a special place where you are automatically safer by not having a gun. We want the same rights that apply everywhere else to apply while we're at a school."
Juliana Keeping covers higher education for AnnArbor.com. Reach her at email@example.com
or 734-623-2528. Follow Juliana Keeping on Twitter