Recent Self Defense & Guns developments include the fact that last month, the Michigan House of Representatives passed a four-bill package allowing legal firearm owners to carry concealed handguns without a license or mandatory training. As reported in The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press, if the bills eventually become law, there will be major repercussions for gun owners across Michigan. The bills now head to the senate for debate and a vote. If the bills pass there, they will go to the governor to be vetoed or signed into law. Strong arguments have been presented on both sides with support and opposition seeming to cut along party lines.
Opponents point out that the bills will allow misdemeanor offenders who are currently banned from carrying concealed weapons, including some sex offenders and stalkers, to do so. Additionally, they claim that removing the requirement for training will endanger Michigan communities since training ensures law abiding and responsible gun ownership. The legislation's supporters say it protects and upholds the Second Amendment and that permit and renewal fees, as well as costs for attending training classes, all amount to an improper tax. They say this "tax" creates an unnecessary barrier to exercising one's constitutionally protected freedoms. Proponents of self defense & guns also say that more law-abiding citizens carrying concealed weapons will actually make communities safer and point out that felons will still be prohibited from concealed carry. Lastly, they point out that an amendment was added so that if stopped by a police officer, the gun owner must advise the officer of the concealed weapon. If this legislation passes, Michigan will join a host of other states that permit "Constitutional Carry" of firearms.
Aside from the political arguments, Michigan law enforcement agencies and officials seem to generally oppose the legislation. When the original concealed carry law passed in 2000, opponents said that shootings would spike. This never happened. Yet, back then, the supporters of that 17-year-old law credited training and permits as smart safeguards to protect the public. It should also be noted that last year, a similar bill failed to gain support in the Michigan Senate.
If you are concerned about these changes and want to better understand your rights and responsibilities as a gun owner, contact a knowledgeable firearms law attorney immediately. John Freeman has been an advocate for gun owners and the Second Amendment throughout his 24-year career. Do not hesitate to call. It could be the most important call you make.