RetakeOurGov, the all-volunteer political organization based in Hartland, in response to House Bill 4098 co-sponsored by Rep. Bill Rogers (R-Brighton), will be giving away firearms training for two Livingston County educators, which will prepare them to receive their Concealed Pistol License (CPL).
“We wanted to do something that we thought was meaningful in allowing educators that were comfortable and had an interest,” Wes Nakagiri, treasurer for RetakeOurGov said. “Legislation could be passed that would allow individual school districts to decide how to protect school children."
If House Bill 4098, is passed by the Michigan Legislature, the law would give local school boards the authority to make decisions regarding allowing school employees, including teachers, to carry concealed pistols at school.
According to a press release from ReTakeOurGov, the bill "empowers local school boards to set policies, including training requirements, before an employee could qualify to carry a concealed pistol at school."
Interested applicants are asked to submit an entry to ReTakeOurGov, including a paragraph with reasons why they want a CPL license. Nakagiri says a committee of three will read all the entries and make a decision the week of March 18.
Providing the initial training for a CPL license, which ranges from $120 to $150, is the “first step” according to Nakagiri, in preparing for the bills that could become law, but says he hopes that educators would require more than just the standard training.
“CPL training certainly makes an individual citizen qualified to carry a concealed pistol, but I, myself, would personally want a higher standard if you were going to have an educator/teacher carrying a concealed pistol in a school,” Nakagiri said. “I just think it makes sense to boost the bar, but I also think that getting CPL training for an educator puts them on the right road.”
Calling House Bill 4098 an “appropriate way to address this issue,” Nakagiri says the decision on whether educators should be allowed to carry concealed guns should be a “community decision.”
“Some communities will be comfortable with allowing teachers to arm themselves, some will not,” he said. “But it’s not Lansing saying, you’ve got to do or you can’t do this.”
After the Sandy Hook shootings, reactions to the possibility of guns in school were mixed by Brighton and Hartland residents.
"I would feel safer knowing that my nieces and nephews had a trained CWC for a teacher," Kendra Dawn Mixer wrote on the Brighton Patch Facebook page in December.
Dan Loiselle of Brighton agreed referring to the Newtown tragedy in his post on the Facebook page.
"Teachers should have firearm training," he wrote. "And this guy would have been stopped in his tracks after the first shot."
Some residents, however, disagreed with the idea of allowing concealed weapons in school including Marla Swartz who commented on the Hartland Patch story regarding Snyder signing the bill into law.
"Heck no he shouldn't sign a bill allowing concealed weapons in schools," Swartz wrote. "What is wrong with people. ...There should be stricter gun regulations. Period. While everyone has a right to defend themselves, having guns in the hands of unstable, unhappy, miserable individuals needs to be stopped."
Concealed Pistol Licenses will be given to two Livingston County educators meeting the following criteria:
- Must live in Livingston County.
- Must teach at one of the school districts in Livingston County. The district can reside wholly or partly within the county.
- Must complete online entry form by 12 p.m., Monday, March 11.
- Winners will be notified via email no later than the week of March 18.