Advocates pushing for fewer gun restrictions in Michigan

Posted at 7:02 AM, Jun 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-15 10:34:03-04

A new set of bills that would ease gun restrictions in Michigan passed the House last week, now there is a legitimate possibility that Michigan gun-owners won’t need a permit, or state training, to carry a concealed weapon.

The bills still need to pass the Senate and get a signature from Governor Snyder before becoming law, but as advocates have noted they didn’t expect to even reach this current stage.

“We have some concerns about the Senate, but you know — I was pessimistic about the House too,” said Phillip Hofmeister, a legal analyst for Michigan Open Carry.

Michigan Open Carry is an advocacy group that has been pushing for less restrictions on gun owners.

The argument is that state-mandated training is costly. Hofmeister also believes that the state constitution is at odds with current law.

“Someone who has a misunderstanding and is following the plain text of the Michigan state constitution is getting charged with a felony,” said Hofmeister. “The Michigan constitution says every person has the right to keep and bear arms for defense of themselves in the state.”

Others have safety concerns. The Michigan State Police are among those actively lobbying against the bills currently sitting before the legislature. In a statement released to 7 Action News, a spokesperson said police are alarmed by two distinctions within the current wording of the bills.

“The bills would allow an individual to carry a pistol concealed with no requirement of any training, and no requirement to disclose to Law enforcement upon contact that they are carrying a pistol,” said a spokesperson through a written statement, adding that they are continuing to work with legislative partners to address the concerns they have.

While some call the likelihood of the current bills passing a “long-shot,” it wouldn’t be an unbelievable feat. In recent years, the Michigan legislature has made several moves that allow for greater access to guns.

Two years ago the state eliminated gun boards which had a say on who received permits to carry weapons. Michigan also created a “stand your ground” law in 2007.