OP/ED: TIME TO SPEAK ON WEAPONS BILLS- The Farmington Voice

OP/ED: TIME TO SPEAK ON WEAPONS BILLS- From the Farmington Voice

 

It’s hard for me to imagine anyone supporting Michigan State Senate bills 584-586, which would allow people who’ve completed some additional training to apply for a permit to carry a concealed weapon in schools, day care centers, and other “no carry” zones.

Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof likes the bills. He told Michigan Public Radio that “no carry zones” create a “target rich environment for people who don’t abide by the law. And people should have the ability to protect themselves, wherever they are.”

I’m going to skip right past calling schools and day care centers “target rich environments,” that’s just a fear-mongering way to defend a position, and it’s truly beneath the level of civil discourse. So is arguing that this legislation will simply lead to more dead children.

The truth is we have absolutely no proof that people who shoot up schools and nightclubs and arenas and day care centers give a damn whether somebody in the building has a gun. Read about the people who commit these monstrous acts. They’re motivated by mental illness, hatred, rage, resentments – not the availability of their victims.

You want to find a way to connect mass shootings, many of them do seem to have one thing in common: domestic violence. As fortune.com reports, “According to Everytown for Gun Safety, mass shooters killed a partner or family member in 54% of shootings—which are defined as incidents in which four or more people are killed by guns.”

Further, part of this package, SB 586, prohibits school district officials from creating or enforcing any policies that are more strict that state or federal law, stripping local control from school boards and citizens.

These Michigan Senate bills will likely go nowhere; Governor Rick Snyder has in the past vetoed similar bills and will likely send these to that great trash can in the sky. But in his last term, there’s no guarantee he will. It seems reasonable to assume that even if he does, these bills will resurface.

That’s why I agree with the Farmington Area PTA Council: It’s important for Farmington Public Schools officials to make a strong statement now in opposition to this group of bills – the same kind of statement made to parents and students at the start of each school year.

We are a community that values the safety of our children, and we put our money where our mouths are. Our tax dollars pay for school resource officers who have demonstrated time and again their ability to connect with students in ways that prevent problems or quickly nip them in the bud. Farmington Public Schools voters just invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to make school entrances more safe.

And after all that, we’re going to have adults in our school buildings with guns no one can see? It just doesn’t make sense.

On Tuesday, Feb. 13, members of the PTA Council will show up dressed in purple as a way to protest these bills and encourage trustees to pass a resolution opposing Senate Bills 584-586. If you’d like to join them, or want to share your thoughts electronically, visit https://farmingtonareapta.org/.

– Joni Hubred


http://farmingtonvoice.com/op-ed-time-to-speak-on-weapons-bills/

What can you do?

UPDATE:  Thanks to everyone who showed up and emailed to get the Farmington BOE to write a resolution opposing SB 584-586.  Please consider sending an email of thanks.

Advocacy takes many forms.  

Please start by joining us for a peaceful presence at the next Farmington Public Schools Board of Education meeting on Tuesday Feb. 13th at the district central office (32500 Shiawassee, Farmington, MI 48336).  Wear purple to show our solidarity.

Our purpose is to be a visual reminder to our BOE members that we are opposed to these bills and ask the BOE to do the same.  If you would like details on the events of the night please message the Farmington Area PTA Council through the Facebook link at the bottom of this page.

If you are not able to attend in person (or even if you are) please have your voice be heard by emailing the FPS Board of education at boardofed@farmington.k12.mi.us .  

What do the bills mean?

 

SB 584 would allow an individual with a Concealed Pistol License to request a special endorsement allowing them to carry a concealed firearm into no-carry zones, such as schools, day care centers, bars and stadiums. In order to receive the endorsement, an individual would need an additional eight hours of training and fire an additional 94 rounds. It would also ban open carry in these same spaces. SB 585 amends the sentencing guidelines to reflect this change.


SB584 also exempts private property and public universities from this law and allows them to set their own policies regarding firearms on their property.


SB 586 would prohibit schools from creating policies on firearms that are stricter than federal or state law. Under this bill, a school district could not regulate if a person could carry a firearm on school grounds, unless the person was a student. The bill does not allow for employee policies, nor for students that are not from the district. The committee indicated that it will make changes to this bill, however, we don’t know what those changes will be.

What else can you do?

Advocacy happens on many levels.  You can start by asking your local PTA what their position is on Bills 584-586.  You can also tell your principal how you feel about having guns in schools.  Most importantly, you can contact your legislators here:   

http://house.michigan.gov/mhrpublic/frmFindaRep.aspx

http://www.senate.michigan.gov/fysbyaddress.html


Talking points for email:   

  • Carrying concealed weapons allows potential threats to our children to enter our schools unseen and unknown. 
  • It invalidates security protocols already in place in our schools, designed to address known threats. 
  • It gives a shooter the opportunity to enter our schools, without being recognized as a potential threat. 
  • Denies school districts local control in determining what is best for their school community 


Articles relating to SB584-586

OP/ED Time to Speak On Weapons Bill- The Farmington Voice

 It’s hard for me to imagine anyone supporting Michigan State Senate bills 584-586, which would allow people who’ve completed some additional training to apply for a permit to carry a concealed weapon in schools, day care centers, and other “no carry” zones.

Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof likes the bills. He told Michigan Public Radio that “no carry zones” create a “target rich environment for people who don’t abide by the law. And people should have the ability to protect themselves, wherever they are.”

I’m going to skip right past calling schools and day care centers “target rich environments,” that’s just a fear-mongering way to defend a position, and it’s truly beneath the level of civil discourse. So is arguing that this legislation will simply lead to more dead children.

The truth is we have absolutely no proof that people who shoot up schools and nightclubs and arenas and day care centers give a damn whether somebody in the building has a gun. Read about the people who commit these monstrous acts. They’re motivated by mental illness, hatred, rage, resentments – not the availability of their victims.

You want to find a way to connect mass shootings, many of them do seem to have one thing in common: domestic violence. As fortune.com reports, “According to Everytown for Gun Safety, mass shooters killed a partner or family member in 54% of shootings—which are defined as incidents in which four or more people are killed by guns.”

Further, part of this package, SB 586, prohibits school district officials from creating or enforcing any policies that are more strict that state or federal law, stripping local control from school boards and citizens.

These Michigan Senate bills will likely go nowhere; Governor Rick Snyder has in the past vetoed similar bills and will likely send these to that great trash can in the sky. But in his last term, there’s no guarantee he will. It seems reasonable to assume that even if he does, these bills will resurface.

That’s why I agree with the Farmington Area PTA Council: It’s important for Farmington Public Schools officials to make a strong statement now in opposition to this group of bills – the same kind of statement made to parents and students at the start of each school year.

We are a community that values the safety of our children, and we put our money where our mouths are. Our tax dollars pay for school resource officers who have demonstrated time and again their ability to connect with students in ways that prevent problems or quickly nip them in the bud. Farmington Public Schools voters just invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to make school entrances more safe.

And after all that, we’re going to have adults in our school buildings with guns no one can see? It just doesn’t make sense.

On Tuesday, Feb. 13, members of the PTA Council will show up dressed in purple as a way to protest these bills and encourage trustees to pass a resolution opposing Senate Bills 584-586. If you’d like to join them, or want to share your thoughts electronically, visit https://farmingtonareapta.org/.

– Joni Hubred

http://farmingtonvoice.com/op-ed-time-to-speak-on-weapons-bills/

Council To Protest Concealed Carry

The Farmington Public Schools district-wide PTA Council plans what organizers call a “peaceful presence” at the February 13 Board of Trustees meeting, urging officials to oppose legislation that would allow some gun owners to carry concealed weapons in schools.

The PTA Council in January asked officials to take a position against Senate Bills 584-586:

“Given PTA’s history of advocacy for the safety of children and youth, Michigan PTA and Farmington Area PTA Council stand against any legislation that increases our students’ exposure to weapons when not in the hands of law enforcement officials.”

According to a legislative analysis, the tie-barred bills (meaning one cannot pass without the others) would allow the concealed carry exemption for “no-carry” zones if the gun owner receives “at least eight hours of training that (meets) specified conditions,” or is a certified firearms instructor. The training, by a certified instructor, must:

  • Include both classroom and range time.
  • Include the firing of at least an additional 94 rounds.
  • Focus on the pistol safety training principles as they apply to public places and premises listed as no-carry zones, subject to the exclusion of parking areas.
  • Be provided by an agency of the State or by a national or State firearms training organization.
  • Be completed within five years immediately before the date of the application for an original or renewal license or an exemption.

The package adds school districts, community college districts, and public libraries to the list of entities that cannot enact local rules that differ from state or federal laws, and closes a loophole that allows gun owners to legally “open carry” in gun-free zones. Schools would still be able to exercise control over students, and colleges and universities could establish their own weapons policies.

Some parents support the bills; at least one believes trained staff with concealed weapons in schools would be a benefit in an “active shooter” situation.

“We feel lives would be saved,” Sheri Edwards wrote on the PTA Council’s public event page.

Tuesday’s school board meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. in the Schulman Administrative Center, 32500 Shiawassee St. in Farmington. The agenda for the meeting and a Curriculum Committee meeting held at 5:30 p.m., are posted on the district’s website.


http://farmingtonvoice.com/pta-council-to-protest-concealed-carry-bills-at-tuesday-board-meeting/

Farmington School Officials Split On Gun Bill Resolution

Farmington Public Schools officials with a split vote passed a resolution Tuesday opposing legislation that would allow some gun owners to carry concealed weapons in schools.

The district’s PTA Council, representing all building parent-teacher groups, last month asked officials to take a stand against Senate Bills 584-586, which would allow gun owners meeting certain requirements to carry concealed weapons in “no carry” zones. School districts would also be added to the list of entities that cannot enact local gun rules different from state or federal law, and districts would be allowed to enforce rules only with their own students.

The pre-vote discussion centered around whether allowing concealed weapons in schools would make students more safe or put them at a greater risk.

Trustee Terry Johnson, who described himself as a certified firearms instructor, reserve officer in two communities, and a concealed pistol license (CPL) holder, said 85 percent of mass shootings happen in gun-free zones. A sign or a bill will not stop someone with “ill intent,” he said.

“What stops someone with ill intent? A good guy with a gun. Is that a police officer? In some cases, yes. In some cases, it is our own parents and CPL holders.”

Johnson said the average response time for police is nine minutes and suggested that someone with a gun could take action during those nine minutes.

“Passing this bill will do nothing but increase the likelihood that something is going to happen in our community,” he said. “The blood that will be shed by passing this bill… will be on anybody who wants to pass this. We need safety for children. I’m asking this board not to get emotional, but to look at the numbers on this.” 

Trustee Terri Weems, also a gun owner, said she doesn’t believe that allowing concealed weapons in schools will stop someone who intends to do harm.

“I am more concerned with the risk of accidents,” she said. “If there were an accident, that would be on our heads. I think of that more than someone who has ill intent.”

Trustee Jim Stark took issue with Johnson’s statement about police response times. He said Farmington Public Safety’s is 90 seconds to three minutes. His issue with the bills centered around “local governance. I think we know what’s best for our community.”

Trustees Weems, Stark, Jessica Cummings, Mark Przeslawski, and Angie Smith voted in favor of the resolution; Johnson and Turner opposed it.

During public comments, Sibyl Collins Wilson, president of Michigan PTA, thanked officials for adopting the resolution.

“Hopefully, the move that has been taken tonight by Farmington will become a lamp post to other districts that will then also support this measure and hopefully will reach the ears of our legislators so that all of us will be able to sleep at night.”

Watch the full discussion online at tv10.viebit.com.

A Post By Rochester Education Association

 

"For the 18th time since the calendar turned to 2018 a weapon was discharged on a school campus this afternoon. Please let that sink in for a moment. Yesterday was Valentine’s Day and there have already been 18 incidents with a firearm on school grounds. That, for those like me who are math challenged, is 40% of the 45 calendar days this year!

Today it was at a high school outside Miami, FL, and 17 students and teachers are dead tonight. Before today the most-recent school gun incident was in New York City, February 8th. Prior to that there were two on February 5th, one in Maplewood, MN, and another in Oxon Hill, MD. How sad is it that the three most-recent incidents barely registered a blip on the national landscape because they were not tragic enough?

Is it just me or should anytime there is a weapon discharged on a school campus be the lead story on the evening news? Clearly the old journalism school adage that if it bleeds it leads holds true in these instances. Schools and guns DO NOT go together. I don’t give a rats a$$ what Wayne LaPierre may say. Unless you’re a law enforcement official there really isn’t a compelling reason for a firearm to be on school grounds.

And yet, in the state of Michigan there is a package of bills, Senate Bills 584, 585, and 586 that aim to close the open carry loophole on school grounds and replace it with a concealed carry allowance. The bills, as written, would prohibit local government units including school districts from any form of gun regulations (though students would be prohibited from carrying). These bills have already passed the full Michigan Senate and are currently in the House Judiciary Committee where they await action.

So what are you and I going to do about it?

Yep, I’m calling us out. We’re educators, we work with young people 180 days a year. We see them up close and personal, we forge lasting relationships with these youngsters, and we should never have to attend the funeral of one of our students or a co-worker because of a senseless – and most will say, preventable – act of violence.

It’s time that we collectively lift our voices as a community of educators. Our elected leaders need to hear from us that guns and schools should not co-mingle.

One of the most powerful images I saw from Florida today was of two women, presumably mothers of students or perhaps even staff members, embracing. The woman whose anguished face is looking forward offers a pair of clear reminders of what today is. The heart locket hanging from her neck reminds us that today is Valentine’s Day, a day to both give and receive love. She also has the ashen sign of the cross on her forehead as today is Ash Wednesday in the Christian faith, the beginning of the Lenten season, marking 46 days until Easter Sunday (40 if Sundays are omitted).

It is customary in many Christian faith denominations to make sacrifices during this season to replicate Jesus Christ’s 40-day journey into the desert. I will posit this audience that regardless of your spiritual beliefs that for the next 46 days we commit to contacting lawmakers and urge them to take meaningful steps to keep guns off school campuses and end this senselessness.

There are 3 million members of the National Education Association and another 1.5 million members in the American Federation of Teachers. That is 4.5 million contacts over 46 days. (Again for the math challenged, that’s 207 million contacts.) And even if it were just the 800 members of us in the REA, that’s still 36,800 contacts.

We will no doubt be told it’s too soon to have this conversation. We will be told we cannot infringe on an individual’s Second Amendment Rights. We will be told this is as much a mental health issue as a gun issue.

To all of that I say, so?

• If there’s a weapon being discharged on school campuses four out of every 10 days when do our elected officials propose is the right time to have this conversation? I say NOW is that time.

• I really don’t care what folks do with their guns on the weekends in the woods or in the privacy of their homes, but when they come into our schools that is no longer just their house. It is our children’s house. And, if the Second Amendment carries so much gravitas, so too should the Preamble which requires our government to provide for domestic tranquility (peace at home). How can we, as a country, say with a straight face we’re providing peace at home when we’re shooting at each other; including our most vulnerable (Sandy Hook, anyone?)?

• It may well be a mental health and not a gun issue (though I’m skeptical). But let’s tease this out a bit. What are our elected representatives doing to help with adolescent mental health? Let’s see: They’re installing third grade reading retention bills. There’s general inactivity on the opioid epidemic. They’re making it more difficult for the economically disadvantaged to purchase health care (which normally includes some mental health coverage). There’s little to no appetite to combat the crushing student debt incurred during their college years. There’s a continual raising of the bar on the expectations of today’s K-12 student as it’s all a giant resume for that college application. And there’s ongoing bullying in schools as well as models of poor inter-personal behavior from our highest branches of government on down.

So, who’s with me? Who’s willing to spend the next 46 days picking up the phone and making at least 10 phone calls a day? Is it a Lenten sacrifice in the truest sense? Probably not, but it sure as heck beats more children and educators being sacrificed in a far more tragic way due to our inactivity.

Here’s the necessary contact information:

• President Donald J. Trump 202-456-1414

• Vice President Mike Pence 202-456-1414

• Senator Gary Peters 202-224-6221

• Senator Debbie Stabenow 202-224-4822

• 5th District Rep Dan Kildee 202-225-3611

• 8th District Rep. Mike Bishop 202-225-4872

• 9th District Rep. Sander Levin 202-225-4961

• 10th District Rep. Paul Mitchell 202-225-2106

• 11th District Rep. Dave Trott 202-225-8171

• 12th District Rep. Debbie Dingell 202-225-4071

• 14th District Rep. Brenda Lawrence 202-225-5802

• Gov. Rick Snyder 517-373-3400

• Lt. Gov. Brian Calley 517-373-6800

Your State Rep and Senator may be found by using this MEA.org

website: http://bit.ly/1lsY3eb

You might also want to contact your local school district’s Board of Education President. As an elected leader in the community s/he has a slightly elevated platform to advocate from.

Let’s make this happen and let’s make it a very public activity by holding ourselves accountable and utilizing our social media to post our daily calls and what your message to the elected official was. There is a movement waiting to happen here but it’s up to us to begin rocking the boat."

Full post here: https://www.facebook.com/RochesterEA/posts/2094709837205723