The tragedy in Las Vegas derailed quite a bit of pro-gun legislation, and not just on the national stage.
In Michigan, efforts to remove that state’s training requirements and to increase gun rights was sidetracked on the night of October 1st. However, GOP lawmakers vow that these efforts will still be coming down the road, just a little later than originally anticipated.
The nation’s deadliest mass shooting has temporarily delayed Michigan Republican lawmakers’ plans to scrap concealed pistol training requirements and expand gun access, but top GOP leaders say the fight isn’t over.
Concealed carry permits need to be eliminated because they amount to an unfair “coat tax” costing legal gun owners money when a gun is hidden but not when it’s carried openly, Republican proponents say. But most Democrats and some Republicans say the plan risks more gun violence by not only ending concealed weapon permits, but removing currently required safety training.
Other bills allow concealed pistols in “gun free” zones, which include schools, day care centers, sports arenas, bars, hospitals, college dorms, casinos, stadiums and places of worship.
Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, has been ambivalent about the so-called “constitutional carry” package. But Meekhof says increased gun access legislation could advance when public furor subsides over the Oct. 1 country music concert massacre that killed 59 people and injured more than 500 others.
“It’s just an awkward time,” Meekhof said. “It seems like every time we get at a place where we can move some of these things, some sort of incident happens that gives people pause, so we’re gonna pause.”
House Speaker Tom Leonard, R-Dewitt, has said the shooting has not changed his support.
None of this should be particularly surprising. For gun rights activists, Las Vegas changed remarkably little. Sure, we had to deal with the inevitable battles that immediately follow these tragedies–after all, it’s fine for anti-gun forces to capitalize on a tragedy, but absolutely horrible for gun rights advocates to even speak during the aftermath of something like Las Vegas–but our priorities changed little.
Yet most people aren’t gun rights activists by any stretch of the imagination. Most folks are semi-ambivalent about gun rights, usually holding a position but generally not a particularly strong one either way.
Following something like Vegas, however, most of those ambivalent people have strong positions on guns, usually against them…for a short period of time.
Then things settle down and return to the status quo.
One opponent of removing the training requirement offered this:
“If you have to wait for the time to be right, it almost sounds like you’re pulling one over on me,” said William Kucyk, co-owner of Action Impact Firearms & Training Center in Southfield, who argues the legislation is a bad idea.
As someone who stands to lose money if the state stops requiring training, I understand his concerns about the bill. I really do. Yet pretending that there’s something underhanded in holding off on a bill until heightened emotions subside is disingenuous, to say the least.
For the people of Michigan, I’m sorry you’ll have to wait a bit longer for the expansion to your gun rights you were hoping for, but that doesn’t mean it’s not coming.