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Parents Pursue Change in MI Gun Laws

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PHOTO: It's a topic with a great emotional divide: Do guns in schools increase the risk of danger or reduce it? A group of parents that believes the former has launched a petition to change state law. Photo credit: DodgertonSkillhause/morguefile.
PHOTO: It's a topic with a great emotional divide: Do guns in schools increase the risk of danger or reduce it? A group of parents that believes the former has launched a petition to change state law. Photo credit: DodgertonSkillhause/morguefile.
 By Mona ShandContact
May 20, 2015

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Do guns have any place in Michigan schools? A group of concerned parents says the answer is 'no,' and it wants the state legislature to take action. Parent Sonya Lewis had no idea Michigan law allows people to openly carry guns on school grounds, until a man did so at her daughter's choir concert in Ann Arbor earlier this year.

"How do we possibly know if this person comes as quote a good guy or a bad guy," says Lewis. "We can't expect our educators or administrators or parents or students of course to look at a person and read their mind and make that determination."

Lewis launched a MoveOn.org petition, which has nearly 3,000 signatures from across the state, calling on state lawmakers to close what she calls the open carry loophole.

Currently, state law prohibits weapons in schools, with the exception of law enforcement officials and concealed pistol license holders, who can not conceal their weapons but can carry them openly.

While some have argued that making schools completely gun-free zones would make them more dangerous because criminals would feel they have no opposition, Lewis, a psychiatrist, feels that argument simply does not hold water.

"I just think of more weapons in the school as a higher exposure to harm, and I can't think of an example of when increasing exposure to something harmful would minimize risk. It defies logic," she says.

In the wake of the open carry incident at the Pioneer High School choir concert, the Ann Arbor school board has changed its policies to ban people from carrying guns in schools.

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