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Repeal the Michigan Pistol Free Zones
2011/02/07

Recently a bill was introduced in Michigan to repeal the pistol free zones that were part of the Concealed Pistol Act that was passed in 2000 and became effective in 2001.

I am going to advocate for repeal of the statute imposing the pistol free zones because the law fails to accomplish its essential purpose. After all, that is the best way to evaluate the effectiveness of any law.

What was the essential purpose of the pistol free zones? Presumably the purpose of “pistol free zones” is that prohibiting the presence of guns would prevent crimes committed with guns. Supposedly it would make these certain areas safe since no guns were allowed or present. Let’s take a look at that.

Say, I am a crazed, evil or unbalanced criminal who preys on innocent people and the voices in my head are telling me to go a school or hospital and kill as many people as possible. Is a paper gun law on “pistol free zones” going to stop me? Of course not. By definition criminals don’t obey our laws. Many of the high profile shootings in the past years have been in supposed “gun free zones.” Not only does this prove the point that these laws do not provide any real safety, it causes us to speculate if the bad guys consciously chose these places because they know there would be no armed resistance to whatever plan they want to carry out. If so, the law makes us less safe, not more safe.

So this law fails in its essential purpose of preventing criminals from bringing guns to places on the pistol free zone list and it fails to keep these areas safe.

But there is more this time, this law fails a second time because it prevents law abiding citizens, “good guys,” from being in a position to defend themselves and/or stop the bad guy from carrying out his intent. So it fails twice.

There are and have been laws on the books against murder and assault. If paper laws worked, these should be enough to prevent shootings. More laws are not going to stop criminals.

Michigan has more listed pistol free zones than do most other states. Many states don’t have any restricted areas at all. Concealed pistol license holders are a very law abiding group and can be trusted to act properly. Michigan law also allows a concealed pistol license holder to carry openly in most of the pistol free zones. The list is really intended to placate certain well meaning but misguided legislators back in 2000. It is time to get rid of the pistol free zones.

David Bieganowski is an attorney in Traverse City and an expert on firearms laws. He is an NRA certified firearms instructor, former Marine, MCRGO member and presently sits on the Grand Traverse County Concealed Weapons Licensing Board.

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