Common-Sense Fixes for Mass Murderer Empowerment Gun Free Zones
Michigan –-(AmmoLand.com)- Members of the MCRGO Board of Directors are among the sponsors of two pending bills that I have been privileged to testify about in recent weeks: HB 5474, which is co-sponsored by MCRGO Director Joel Sheltrown, and SB 747, which lists Senators Alan Cropsey and Randy Richardville among its co-sponsors. Both are MCRGO Directors.
HB 5474 would bring our institutions of higher education into line with the rest of our state by requiring them to follow Michigan law regarding firearms and not allow them to continue to make up their own arbitrary, and dangerous regulations. SB 747 would remove college dorms and classrooms from the Mass Murderer Empowerment Zones list. Both should be seen as common-sense fixes that simply extend the proven and successful public policy that governs the rest of Michigan with regard to gun laws.
Michigan concealed pistol law currently includes a list of places that is often referred to as the “Pistol Free Zones.” Regular readers of this column may recall that I tend to refer to them as the “Mass Murderer Empowerment Zones.” This is because of a clear logical fallacy inherent in the law: the idea that individuals bent on committing violent crimes are in any way deterred by the idea that there may be some regulation or law that also prohibits possession of a gun in the place where they intend to do harm.
By definition, the only group of people who obey such restrictions are law-abiding citizens who have gone through background checks and training and demonstrated competence with their weapons, as well as paid a fee for their licenses. One thing we know about such people is that they are among the most law-abiding of citizens. And, we have the data to back that statement up. The Michigan State Police compiles an annual report listing all crimes committed by CPL holders. The list includes all crimes, not just gun crimes. It shows that we CPL holders (approximately 200,000 of us) have a much lower rate of crime than the general population. This is not surprising at all to those of us who carry. Although, it does tend to surprise some folks who get their information on guns from TV, movies and newspapers. Furthermore, the overall violent crime rate has improved measurably since the advent of “shall issue” CPL’s at the beginning of this decade. The facts are in. More law-abiding citizens carrying guns is a public good.
When evaluating public policy proposals, it is useful to use a risk-utility test that balances potential benefits and potential harms of any course of action. The risk side of the test should consider both the likelihood of the harm occurring and the severity of the harm. In other words, what are the chances that a bad result will happen and how bad will it be? In this case, the actual odds of a Virginia Tech kind of tragedy are admittedly low. However, when such incidents do occur, the severity is extremely high: The deaths of innocent people who have been disarmed by a bad law.
During my testimony, I pointed out that there are approximately 300 million guns in the United States, one for every man, woman and child. We should assume that there are guns anywhere we go. (Excepting, of course “sterile” areas such as airport gate areas etc.) The only question remaining is whether the “good guys” will be armed. Simple logic. Let us hope that it prevails.
Steve Dulan (www.StevenWDulan.com) is a member of the Board of Directors of the MCRGO and the MCRGO Foundation, and a member of the Board of Trustees of the MCRGO Foundation. He is an attorney in private practice in East Lansing and Adjunct Professor of firearms law at The Thomas M. Cooley Law School. as well as an NRA Life Member.
The Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners is a non-profit, non-partisan organization. Formed from just eight people in 1996, we now have thousands of members and numerous affiliated clubs across the state. We’re growing larger and more effective every day.
Our mission statement is: “Promoting safe use and ownership of firearms through education, litigation, and legislation” Visit: www.mcrgo.org