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 Blog: The Ledger

Initial Entry - The Ledger

Jim Makowski - September 16, 2014

Thank you all for coming out here today. Your appearance here today shows our legislators here in Lansing that firearm owners are a political force to be reckoned with.

As gun owners we have a lot of friends in the State Legislature. To those lawmakers who recognize and support our Second Amendment rights I would like to say thanks. Representatives McMillan, Hildebrand, Johnson, Brunner, and Baines as well as Senators Green, Schuitmaker, Casperson, and many others are great friends to the Second Amendment and they all deserve a round of applause.

Now I would like to speak to those lawmakers with different beliefs. Those elected officials who believe that the solution to violent crime can be accomplished through banning or restricting firearm ownership. To those lawmakers who favor curtailing the rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment I would ask two things:

I would ask that you try to set aside the rhetoric and emotions and instead examine issues logically. Doing so will inevitably force you to realize that anti-gun legislation harms the public and does nothing to protect the citizenry.

If you are unable to set aside these illogical, even irrational opinions I would at least ask that you listen to your constituents when making voting decisions. With well over 400,000 Concealed Pistol Licensees in the State of Michigan it is clear that the people have spoken.

The citizens of Michigan recognize that they are responsible for their own health and safety. The people want and must be able to protect themselves. Police cannot be everywhere and the responsibility for your own personal security cannot be left to chance. The new Detroit Police Chief, Daniel Craig, has upset a lot of people because he acknowledges this and encourages honest, law-abiding citizens to be armed to protect themselves. He realizes that a good person with a gun is the only way to combat a bad person with a gun.

For the most part we are lucky here in Michigan. Thirty years ago it was nearly impossible to get a concealed carry license in Michigan. Our friends in the Legislature recognized that this did nothing but harm public safety. In 2001, when Michigan became a 'shall issue' state the anti-gun media and politicians warned that gun-toting, trigger happy citizens were going to be shooting up our streets. Claims were made that Michigan was turning into the Wild West. The Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police and the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan were up in arms, claiming that the way was being paved for gun battles in the streets and predicted the sewers would be running red with blood.

Well, as we all know that didn't happen. Violent crime is down in our state, thanks in no small part to armed, law-abiding citizens standing up for themselves and refusing to be victims. Now, whenever a mugger starts scouting out a potential victim he must ask himself 'I wonder if that woman has a gun in her purse?' With an armed populace that would-be carjacker now gambles with his own life every time he attempts to steal a car. The bottom line is that when victims have the ability to fight back the whole dynamic changes. Perhaps that is even enough to convince someone not to begin a life of crime.

As I said, we have come a long way since 2001 but we have a still have a long way to go. Back in 2001 the only way 'shall issue' received enough votes to pass was with the inclusion of what are legally referred to as Pistol Free Zones, or as many of us call them, Criminal Empowerment Zones, or even Mass Murder Empowerment Zones. This needs to change.

Statistics show that those who hold concealed pistol licenses are far more law abiding than the general public. Prohibiting trained, law-abiding citizens from carrying their firearms in schools or churches does absolutely nothing to increase public safety. In fact, just the opposite is true. Pistol Free Zones are premised on a lie: that murderers will follow rules, and that law abiding CPL holders trained in the use of deadly force are a greater danger to those around them than crazed killers. That's insulting to all of us. When you ban guns, it is the law-abiding good citizens who obey the law, not the criminals.

Laws banning the public from carrying weapons allow criminals free rein. It is a fact that almost every mass shooting in the last several years took place in locations where it was illegal to possess a firearm for self-defense. Connecticut laws banning firearms in schools did not stop Adam Lanza from committing mass murder in Newtown. Colorado laws banning firearms in movie theaters did not prevent James Holmes from committing mass murder in Aurora. We all learned lessons from the Newtown and Aurora tragedies. Sadly, some learned the wrong lesson. The bottom line is that Pistol Free Zones create a false sense of security but do nothing to protect the public.

Thankfully, mass shootings are rare but what about the danger posed by simply having to disarm when entering a Pistol Free Zone? Anyone with common sense knows that guns in holsters do not shoot themselves. The only time a gun discharges accidentally or negligently is when it is being handled. Even trained police officers sometimes have problems with this.

Quite often I drive my 6 year-old to school in the morning and she attends latchkey when I have to be in court early. I have to enter the school to sign her in those mornings. For me to act within the law I must remove my firearm from its holster and leave it UNATTENDED in my car while I walk into the school. When I return to my car I then have to re-holster it. How is that safer for anybody? In January a police chief in Indiana actually shot himself when holstering his gun! Can anyone seriously believe that a firearm left UNATTENDED in a car in the school parking lot is safer than one riding safely in a holster under my jacket? That is simply ridiculous!

To make matters even more difficult, as many of you know it is legal to Open Carry in a Pistol Free Zone as long as you have your Concealed Pistol License. The only way to carry a pistol at a school is to do so openly. How many incidents have we had where someone calls the police when someone LAWFULLY open carries a firearm at a school?

Now understand this: I am absolutely, 100% in favor of Open Carry and am proud that I have fought and won in court to uphold it. That being said, very few people I know would choose to Open Carry in a Pistol Free Zone if they had any other option. Those who enter Pistol Free Zones openly carrying are simply exercising their right to self-protection in the only legal way available to them. These brave souls run an increased risk of a dangerous encounter with ill-trained police or even misguided parents who might think that person a threat. When the police respond to an Open Carry call not only is the general public put at needless risk but valuable police resources are wasted.

A few years ago the Legislature passed SB 59 which would have eliminated Pistol Free Zones after the CPL holder received additional training. One day after SB59 passed both house the Newtown massacre took place. In the wake of that tragedy the bill died. It is now time to revisit this.

Today I call upon the Legislature to reintroduce legislation to eliminate Pistol Free Zones. I also call upon Governor Snyder to sign that legislation into law. Eliminating Pistol Free Zones WILL protect our children and families. Allowing Pistol Free Zones to continue to exist ENDANGERS our children and families.

As I said before the only way to beat a bad man with a gun is with a good man with a gun. Please, Governor Snyder, GIVE US THE ABILITY TO PROTECT OUR CHILDREN!

Finally, to all of the people here, PLEASE make sure to vote in the November general election. Support those candidates who share our beliefs and philosophy. THEY NEED YOUR VOTES!

Thank you all for coming out here today and showing your support. We ARE making a difference! Our voices ARE being heard!