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Bills would let prosecutors, guards carry concealed guns in pistol-free zones

A gun lying on a table with bullets around it.
Daniel Weber

County prosecutors, assistant prosecutors and jail guards could carry concealed guns in schools and other pistol-free zones under bills before the state Legislature. Elected prosecutors would get a lifetime exemption to the law that forbids most people from carrying concealed guns in pistol-free zones.

Supporters of the legislation – which cleared the state House Judiciary Committee Thursday – say guards and prosecutors face threats on and off the job.

State Representative Tom Leonard (R-DeWitt) says prosecutors have to deal with the reality that some felons will carry grudges long after they’re released from jail or prison.

“I want to ensure that those individuals that prosecute some of the most dangerous criminals that Michigan has can protect them and their families,” he said.

Tom Lambert of Michigan Open Carry sees it differently.

“Boil it down, favoritism,” he said. “For every reason they need to carry, the rest of the population needs to carry as well.”

Lambert says his group appreciates efforts to relax concealed gun laws, but believes gun laws should be applied equally to everyone. They want gun laws amended to reduce or eliminate concealed pistol zones in places like schools and stadiums so anyone with a license can carry a gun. Governor Rick Snyder vetoed a bill last year that would have allowed that.

Leonard says he’s sympathetic to relaxing the restrictions, but guards and prosecutors should not have to wait for the larger question to be resolved. The state House could vote on the legislation as soon as next week.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.