Sen. Theis Introduces Bill to Remove Permit Requirement for Concealed Guns in MI

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By Doug Marrin, STN Reporter

In May, legislation was introduced into the Michigan State Senate that would allow law-abiding adults to carry concealed firearms without a permit if signed into law.

“The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” said Senator Lana Theis, who represents Chelsea and Dexter. “The legislation we have introduced simply recognizes and restores Michiganders’ constitutional rights and would allow law-abiding adults to carry a firearm, concealed or in the open, without a license.”

Theis was joined by Senators Roger Victory (R-Hudsonville), Aric Nesbitt (R-Lawton), Jon Bumstead (R-Muskegon), Dale Zorn (R-Adrian), and Kevin Daley (R-Bay City) in sponsoring Senate Bills 489-492. The four-bill package would allow Michigan residents, who are not otherwise banned from carrying firearms, to carry concealed firearms without a license. Lawmakers maintain the bills will protect the constitutional rights of Michiganders.

“Either we believe in the constitution, and apply it as written, or we don’t,” said Nesbitt. “Since we do, Michiganders should therefore not have to submit to or rely on state bureaucrats to enjoy their God-given and constitutionally protected rights to defend themselves and others. The constitution is our license.”

Michigan is a “shall” issue state, meaning that licensing authorities must issue a concealed handgun license (CPL) if the applicant meets specific qualifications. Applicants must go through a background check required by federal law. In addition, in Michigan, applicants must complete a state-approved pistol training course and submit their fingerprints to local, county, and state law enforcement. The application fee is $100 and expires in five years. Holders must pay $115 for renewal.

“There is no evidence that these current laws actually keep us safer,” said Senator Tom Barrett (R-Charlotte). “Individuals already undergo a background check when purchasing a firearm and these bills do not stop that requirement. Instead, this forced government revenue stream requires law-abiding citizens to jump through hoops to exercise their constitutional rights.”

When asked for his thoughts on the proposed legislation, Washtenaw County Sheriff Jerry Clayton didn’t mince words.

“It seriously concerns me,” Sheriff Clayton said in a phone call. “The over-proliferation of guns in this country seriously concerns me. I think the proposed legislation is short-sighted. Putting more guns, especially concealed weapons, into the hands of law-abiding citizens does not make us safer.”

Sheriff Clayton also stressed that it would exponentially complicate law enforcement. As an illustration, the Sheriff used the example of law enforcement responding to an active shooter situation. He explains that upon arrival, police first assess who is a threat and who is not. The legislation could blur the distinction.

“How are the officers going to be able to discern who is the threat and who is the ‘law-abiding citizen’ that happens to have a firearm there?” he asks. “It increases the likelihood of people engaging in shootings, rounds going into places where innocent people get hurt.”

When asked if he had any concerns about vigilantism, people trying to assist police in its execution of law enforcement, Sheriff Clayton replied, “Exactly. There are numerous situations where law-abiding citizens have helped our police in some of these situations. I’m not discounting that. More and more people carrying and displaying guns in these hectic crisis situations, where decisions have to be made quickly, increases the likelihood of innocent people being hurt.”

Should the legislation clear the Republican-controlled State Legislature, it is unlikely that Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, would sign the package into law.

Senate Bills 489-492 are currently in the Senate Government Operations Committee for consideration.

Photo: Michigan State Capital, Wikimedia.

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