Senate Approves Bill to Allow CPL Holders to Carry Tasers

Individuals with Concealed Pistol Licenses (CPL) would be allowed to legally carry Tasers under measures approved by the Michigan Senate.

This common sense legislation is  about public safety. Using a Taser is a nonlethal means for self-defense by temporarily incapacitating a criminal suspect or attacker. Allowing someone who is already trained to carry a gun to use a Taser is a responsible policy that will enable Southwest Michigan residents to protect their families in the safest manner possible.

Senate Bill 29 would allow CPL holders to possess and reasonably use an electro-muscular disruption device, commonly known as a Taser or stun gun. The bill also requires authorized dealers to provide training to CPL holders on the use and risks of Tasers and restricts use of the devices to self-defense.

Individuals convicted of using a Taser for anything other than self-defense would face up to two years in prison and a fine of $2,000.

SBs 30 and 93 require CPL holders carrying Tasers on their person or in their vehicle to disclose this to police officers; ban individuals from carrying the devices while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances; and outline fine and jail time for violators.

Law enforcement officers in Michigan have been using Tasers for years. This reform will expand our state’s CPL law to allow our most responsible citizen gun owners to use these nonlethal devices – with all the restrictions of a concealed weapon.

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Prisoner “Trophies” Wrong

It has come to my attention that a prisoner in the State of Michigan was recently allowed to display a “trophy”, or souvenir of his crime, in his prison cell.  This is unacceptable and a slap in the face to innocent victims and their families. 

“Trophy” items can include photographs, articles of clothing or other items from a criminal act.

I believe allowing prisoners to display these keepsakes is disgusting and is the reason I co-sponsored legislation to prohibit prisoners from receiving or having in their cell any item that belonged to the criminal’s victim or any photograph, drawing or other visual image representing his victim.

My reform is about ensuring that Michigan’s corrections system remains focused on adjusting behavior and punishing criminal offenses against communities across the state. The bill does allow for an exemption in a case where the victim is an immediate family member and the prisoner has permission of that family member.

Senate Bill 645 was introduced at the request of a Michigan municipal police department after a prisoner, convicted of a sexual offense, was discovered by the victim’s family to have a picture of his victim in his prison cell. When the family asked that the photograph be removed, they were informed that a judge would have to set a no contact order to include photos and that this would’ve had to have been done before the sentencing of the criminal.

Michigan has long been a leader in the area of crime victim’s rights. This case is an example of oversight in the law that must be fixed. No victim or victim’s family should be subjected to this type of inappropriate behavior.

Empowering Students With Information About Health, Concussions

The number of students suffering concussions during an extracurricular athletic activity is rising at an alarming rate and is impacting many students right here in Southwest Michigan.

To help combat this problem, I have introduced a bill to have Michigan join 28 other states in requiring school boards to establish a wellness policy including guidelines to educate coaches, student athletes and parents about the nature and risk of concussions during athletic activity.

A Brown University study showed that from 1997 to 2007, the number of sports-related concussions among student-athletes ages 13-19 tripled from about 7,000 to 22,000. Doctors now estimate that up to 30,000 sports-related concussions occur in the U.S. every year and many of these types of injuries go unreported.

I sponsored this bill to help ensure that everyone has the concussion information they need to help identify the symptoms – which may prevent catastrophic and permanent brain damage that can occur if an athlete takes another impact. 

This reform would also require a school’s wellness policy to include information on proper nutrition and physical activity.

With more than 12 percent of children and 31 percent of adults in Michigan considered obese, our state has become the eighth most overweight state in the nation – costing  Michigan’s economy billions of dollars in annual medical expenses.

This legislation is about being proactive to help turn this tide without burdening schools with increased costs.  Becoming a healthier Michigan will improve our lives and our economy and it starts with promoting healthy habits in our children.