Michigan Representative Jim Runestad wants more law-abiding citizens to be able to concealed carry, without a permit. That's why he and three other House Republicans (Reps. Tom Barrett, Potterville; Lee Chatfield, Levering; Triston Cole, Mancelona) introduced a set of bills that would make concealed carry permits optional.
"If they open carry, they're not required to carry a permit," Runestad said. "Now if they concealed carry, in other words, they put a coat on, it's the same thing. They're not required to carry a permit."
Right now, to get a concealed carry permit, applicants have to take a pistol safety class and pass an additional background check.
Runestad says he introduced the bills, "Just to reaffirm our second-amendment rights. It costs $110 to get a permit, that's really the only difference."
The same laws barring people with felony convictions or who have been committed for mental health problems, among other things, from buying guns would still apply, Runestad says.
Despite the controversy that surrounds some gun legislation, Runestad says he doesn't expect a lot of opposition to this set of bills.
"Most of the people that I talk to, their concern is that there will be somebody there with a weapon, a law-abiding citizen who can stop the predator from killing, particularly children. That's the thing I hear over and over again," Runestad said.
The bills are frightening and promote a "guns anywhere, anytime, for anyone" society, says Linda Brundage of the Michigan Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence.
"I think it's problematic because it sets up a vigilante kind of society," Brundage said. "I don't think we want a vigilante justice system here in the Michigan. We want trained law enforcement responding to situations that might need intervention with a gun."
Runestad says he's open to tweaking the bills and plans to talk to law enforcement officers to see if they have any concerns.