'81 Shooting Influences Snyder Veto

By: Jason Colthorp Email
By: Jason Colthorp Email

Governor Rick Snyder has vetoed a gun bill allowing for concealed weapons in schools.
As he considered the bill, two shootings weighed on his mind.
The mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary and one from his past.
In 1981, on Good Friday, the governor was in law school at the University of Michigan. He was a resident advisor when a student started a fire then started shooting at the students running out of the dorm.
"It obviously affected my life, because it's just one of those terrible tragedies," Governor Snyder recalled. "It was on a smaller scale and in college but two fine young men died."

A mentally ill student had started a fire by throwing Molotov Cocktails into the hallway. As RA's, Snyder and one of his best friends were first responders. The student opened fire with a shotgun-- killing another RA.

"Then another resident was killed and my friend came down and he had blood all over him," said Snyder. "I was there for the victims coming down and the whole works, so the rest of the school year was different experience for all of us and it affected our whole lives."

That shooting and the one in Newtown, Connecticut Friday, weighed heavily on Snyder's mind when he decided to veto Senate Bill 59. It would have allowed gun owners with a CPL to carry a concealed weapon with extra training in gun-free zones including schools. But schools, churches and other entities could declare themselves off-limits under trespass laws.

But the governor told me he wasn't wild about the bill from the beginning.

"I had some issues-- some serious concerns with the bill even before the shooting on what was in the process."


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  • by Name Location: Location on Dec 27, 2012 at 04:27 AM
    Maybe NReasonA is right, revamp the mental health system. They won't allow "stupid" rants like his to reach the public, keeping everyone safe of stupidity!?!?!?
  • by Hilarious! Location: Jackson on Dec 21, 2012 at 05:32 PM
    WOW!! "Gun-totin'-cowboys"..."clingin' to your guns"..."guns ablazin'". I think the only spaghetti-western cliche' you haven't used is "head em' off at the pass" and "ridn' off into the sunset". Can you put those two into your next posting?? In the meantime...you want statistics you should read "More Guns Less Crime" by John Lott or simply look at the FBI crime statistics. It wouldn't matter anyway. You could have mounds of statistics and pages of historical context and it wouldn't get through to you. By the way, don't sell yourself short, I'll be you look lovely in red!
  • by NReasonA Location: Lansing on Dec 21, 2012 at 09:18 AM
    "free", I look terrible in red so I wouldn't wear in coat form or otherwise - you are an idiot. Law abiding citizens DO NOT need any automatic or semi-automatic AT ALL, EVER. This is one of the largest problems with all of you and your "from my cold dead hands" culture, people are murdered by guns...your answer, more guns. Stupid!! Show me one statistic that proves that all the zealous gun buying after these tragedies has ever made anything better or anyone safer - YOU CAN'T. It does not make people safer - to the contrary it makes crazy people, freaked out over an evernt, even more volatile and open for the potential for not so smart behavior with their precious firearms. Look at the "stand your ground" mess in FL - giving morons with weapons the ability to shoot at will and then claim self defense; ain't working out so well for a couple of guys down there. More guns is not the answer - tighter controls and a massive revamp of our mental health system are what's needed. All of the cowboys can fade away, IMO.
  • by Mark Location: Lansing on Dec 21, 2012 at 07:14 AM
    Why is it that those who don't understand concealed laws with all of the training and background checking as well as future retraining requirements, seem to group honest, caring and non criminal citizens in with mentally challenged/deranged people who get guns illegally? In Texas, teachers all get gun training and carry concealed guns. They don't have any problems with this and criminals know that if they attack students in a school, they will be shot. I thought Snyder would be intelligent enough to understand that concealed carry puts many good people with guns in places that criminals might attack and they might be better off with someone in the school or library helping to thwart off these vicious attacks.
  • by free Location: Mason on Dec 20, 2012 at 11:56 AM
    @NReasonA ,"Yes, criminals will always be criminals and find ways to do their evil ". Then law abiding citizens should have access to the means of defending themselves and others. Its as simple as that. Stop trying to be a red coat.
  • by NReasonA Location: Location on Dec 20, 2012 at 03:32 AM
    I knew the gun-totin' cowboy types would get their little boxers in an ignorant wad - RT, I've read this board enough to not at all be surprised you were one of the first, and the dumbest - keep clingin' to your guns, like some archaic John Wayne wanna be. You wanna know what I think about your 2nd Amend arguments that always arise - we have a "well armed militia", it's called the National Guard, and the last thing I want to think about is a bunch of half-crazed Tea Baggers descending on DC, with their guns ablazin' to "take down our corrupt government". Show me ONE statistic that proves adding more guns to our society has benefitted anyone - good luck with that, BTW - don't expect much there. Even the "real" NRA is even realizing it's ridiculously zealous mistakes and backing down on this one (can't exactly justify "from my cold dead hands" when 20 sets of little ones are quite cold right now). How many massacres of this type in Europe compared to here? Now there's a real statistic. Yes, criminals will always be criminals and find ways to do their evil, but do we need to help them by having way more guns than any set of people, no matter the size, needs? John, I got nothin' for you - you're just stupid.
  • by John Location: Lansing on Dec 19, 2012 at 08:45 AM
    Wow! So it looks like we’ll continue to sacrifice our children so we may keep living in fantasy-land. How ‘bout we outlaw AIDS while we’re at it? Seriously, murderers are a FACT; if the recent one hadn’t access to guns perhaps you would have felt it would have been morally superior for him to have driven over all of those kids with an SUV at their recess? I would imagine he could have killed many, many more in less time… and gotten away. But hey, at least we’d be safe from all those evil guns. BEST OF ALL, WE’D REMAIN RESPONSIBILITY FREE.
  • by free Location: Mason on Dec 19, 2012 at 07:36 AM
    @NatReason , you must not see the evil creeping into the hearts of men and women. You also don't think we have a right to defend ourselves from it. No targeted gun laws will stop determined criminals and deranged killers. It will only make gun free zones places to avoid. If gun laws were passed it should also apply to positions of authority and control, research why our ancestors created the 2nd amendment. Evil isn't just creeping into the hearts of the common man.
  • by RT Location: Lansing on Dec 19, 2012 at 06:55 AM
    NationalReasonAssociation...that was a great tirade you posted but it ignores a couple points that can't be denied. First is that criminals will always get their hands on weapons. Second, if that school principal in CT was trained and armed there would be 20 children still with us today.
  • by Josh on Dec 19, 2012 at 06:53 AM
    Kelly it sounds like Snyder did make "an intelligent, sound decision" in vetoing the legislation. The issue here was the fact that the bill did not allow local units of government to opt-out of the legislation, which is something the bill sponsor knew Snyder wanted and was unable to get. The CT shooting and Snyder's experience in '81 were just the icing on the cake that the media has seized upon because it makes a good story. Aside from the real story, even if Snyder vetoed the bill because of his experience in '81 I would hardly call that reason for him to resign. On the list of important things that actually matter, this bill was/is near the bottom.
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