Gun Control, Michigan Republicans, Rick Snyder — January 6, 2015 at 9:27 am

UPDATED: New Michigan law will compel county clerks to issue concealed weapons permits to stalkers & spouse abusers


A new law awaiting Governor Rick Snyder’s signature would force county clerks in Michigan to issue concealed weapons permits (formally “concealed pistol licenses” or CPLs) to people covered by Personal Protection Orders (PPOs) unless the PPO explicitly forbids them from carrying a firearm. The issuance of concealed weapons permits will be transferred from county concealed weapon licensing boards under Senate Bill 789 to county clerks and the county gun boards will be disbanded. If signed into law, Michigan will become a true “shall issue” state where governing municipalities have no discretion as to which people may be issued gun permits.

Here is the full list of changes being made under S.B. 789 according to the House Fiscal Agency analysis:

Senate Bill 789 will amend the Handgun Licensing Law to:

  • Abolish county concealed weapon licensing boards.
  • Transfer the bulk of the duties of the county boards to county clerks with some duties going to the courts, sheriffs, or MSP [Michigan State Police].
  • Require the MSP to conduct investigations of CPL applicants as to eligibility.
  • Revise the CPL process, including requiring an applicant to have a valid state issued driver license or personal ID card.
  • Give civil immunity to clerks and law enforcement entities if a CPL holder later commits a crime or negligent act.
  • Add criminal penalties for certain violations of the act and require, instead of allow, certain civil infractions to be imposed for violations.
  • Allow an applicant for a CPL renewal to certify that he or she has completed educational and firing range requirements (and the county clerk could not otherwise require verification of the statements in the certification).
  • Decrease license and renewal fees.
  • Revise the process to obtain an emergency CPL (formerly “temporary” license).
  • Require each county to establish a concealed pistol licensing fund.
  • Allow county clerks to take fingerprints of applicants.
  • Allow the subject of a PPO for domestic violence or stalking to receive a CPL unless the order includes a restriction that the applicant is not allowed to purchase or possess a firearm.
  • Repeal Sections 5m and 6a.

Needless to say, the folks trying to rein in gun violence and who advocate on behalf of domestic assault victims are outraged by the impending law:

“Putting firearms in the hands of domestic violence perpetrators is dangerous; removing commonsense protections is dangerous,” said Kathy Hagenian, executive policy director for the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence in Okemos.

The coalition “would very much like the governor to veto it,” Hagenian said.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Mike Green, wasn’t even aware that the bill contained the provision to compel county clerks to issue CPLs to applicants who are under a PPO. When asked about it, he had to check in with his office before answering. Presumably they got their NRA-issued talking points in order before he came back with an answer. His response was that those opposed to issuing concealed weapons permits to stalkers and spouse abusers were “making a mountain out of a molehill”:

Green initially told the Free Press he wasn’t aware of the provision related to personal protection orders, and that it was his understanding people subject to PPOs would not be able to obtain concealed weapons permits under his bill.

But that’s not what the bill says, and the provision opposed by Hagenian was highlighted in legislative analyses of the bill going back to November.

After checking with his office, Green said some gun rights groups felt the existence of a PPO by itself should not exclude someone from getting a permit, provided no firearm restriction is part of the court order.

“That’s a significant change,” Green said.

Asked if it’s legitimate for advocates for victims of domestic violence to be concerned about the change, Green said, “you can make a mountain out of a molehill,” and some groups that are philosophically against the bill will look for specific items to oppose.

When Florida passed similar “shall issue” legislation in 1987, things went from bad to worse:

Florida’s “shall issue” legislation, passed in 1987, … stripped authorities of the ability to deny a concealed-weapons permit to someone they consider potentially dangerous.

The shall-issue law would allow thousands of ex-convicts and spouse beaters to pack heat; a Florida state attorney called it “one of the dumbest laws I have ever seen.” A 1988 investigation by the St. Petersburg Times found permits had been given to two fugitives with outstanding arrest warrants, a disgraced cop who’d been convicted of a DUI and turned down for a county gun license, a man charged with fondling an eight-year-old girl, and a dead man. Florida has since issued more than 2 million concealed-weapons permits.

This is what is in store for Michigan under S.B. 789. Opponents of this odious bill are hoping for a veto but Gov. Snyder and his staff have signaled that he intends to sign it into law.

UPDATE: FUN FACT: Sen. Green recently won an NRA-ILA Defender of Freedom Award:

Today, state Senator Mike Green (SD-31) received the Defender of Freedom Award from the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action in recognition of his tireless efforts to defend liberty and protect the interests of law-abiding gun owners and sportsmen in Michigan.

During his tenure in the Michigan Legislature, Mike Green has been a proven and consistent advocate of your Right to Keep and Bear Arms and has fought to protect Michigan’s rich hunting heritage. Senator Green was the primary sponsor and vocal advocate for some of the most significant firearm-related bills to pass in the Michigan Legislature over the past two decades.

Mike Green’s first service in the Michigan Senate was most significantly marked by the passage and enactment of “shall issue” concealed carry legislation that he sponsored. More recently, Senator Green has sponsored bills to expand concealed carry rights, streamline Michigan’s concealed carry permitting process and repeal Michigan’s ban on short-barreled rifles and short-barreled shotguns.

An avid hunter and gun owner, Senator Green is “A+” rated by the NRA-PVF and is co-chairman of the Michigan Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus.

As a recipient of the NRA-ILA Defender of Freedom Award, Senator Mike Green joins an esteemed list of individuals who have gone “above and beyond” in the fight to defend the Second Amendment.

Go figure.

[Photo credit: Anne C. Savage, special to Eclectablog]