Shirkey bill would fix loophole in open-carry law while protecting freedoms

LANSING, Mich. — The state Senate on Wednesday approved Sen. Mike Shirkey’s bill that would close a loophole in Michigan’s open-carry law and protect the rights of concealed pistol license (CPL) holders.

Senate Bill 586, along with SBs 584 and 585, would prohibit CPL holders from open-carrying guns into pistol-free zones such as schools, churches and sports arenas but would allow them to carry a concealed weapon instead.

“This legislation upholds the Constitution, protects the rights of CPL holders and reduces potential disruptions in pistol-free zones,” said Shirkey, R-Clarklake. “Since these zones were established almost 20 years ago, the courts have ruled that CPL holders can legally open-carry weapons but not carry concealed weapons.

“Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have pointed out how disruptive it could be to students and staff if people began exercising their open-carry rights in our schools during instruction time. These bills close the loophole in the law.”

The legislation would still allow schools to prohibit students from carrying concealed guns on school property and to establish their own gun policies regarding school employees.

Shirkey noted cases in which CPL holders have legally walked into schools openly carrying a holstered pistol, after which the schools went into lockdown. SB 584-586 would avoid that unsettling situation by allowing CPL holders to carry a concealed weapon in pistol-free zones with additional training.

Under the bills, CPL holders would be required to complete an additional eight hours of CPL training that would include:

• Classroom and range time;

• A focus on the application of CPL principles to public places;

• The firing of an additional 94 rounds; and

• Completion of the training within the last five years.

In addition, the training instructor must be certified by a state or national firearms training organization.

A CPL holder could forego the training if he or she is certified as a firearms instructor by a state or national firearms training organization.

“These bills strike a balance between honoring the rights of people to defend themselves and helping ensure learning environments are secure and the school day is not interrupted by the sight of a firearm,” Shirkey said.

SBs 584–586 now head to the Michigan House for further consideration.