Michigan Senate OKs concealed guns in schools, bars

LANSING, Mich. –  Licensed gun owners with extra training could legally carry inside schools, churches, bars and other pistol-free zones under hotly contested legislation that was approved Wednesday by the Republican-led Michigan Senate, days after the Texas church massacre.

The bills were sent to the GOP-led House for consideration next. They face an uncertain future because Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, vetoed a similar plan in 2012 following the mass shooting of elementary schoolchildren in Connecticut.

Snyder is not commenting on the new legislation until or if it wins final legislative passage.

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In Michigan, it is illegal for the nearly 618,000 people with concealed weapons permits to carry in designated gun-free zones: schools, day cares, stadiums, large concert halls, taverns, places of worship, hospitals, many college dorms or classrooms, and casinos.

The legislation would legalize the right to carry in those places if a license holder gets eight more hours of training, though privately owned businesses such as bars could stay pistol-free. People licensed to carry would be banned from openly carrying or intentionally displaying a pistol — a provision that addresses a "loophole" that has allowed armed open-carry activists to enter the gun-free zones and has sparked lawsuits.

The current law already gives the leaders of churches, synagogues, mosques and other places of worship permission to allow concealed weapons.

Twenty-five Republicans voted for the main bill . All 11 Democrats and one Republican opposed it.

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