A package of four bills was introduced to the state legislature last week that would allow for concealed carry without a permit.
The companion bills brought to the state House would allow those legally able to possess a firearm in the Wolverine State to carry one concealed without having to get the now-standard $110 permit to do so from local authorities.
“We are required to take a driver’s test occasionally to get or maintain our driver’s licenses, but tens of thousands of people are killed in traffic accidents every year, regardless of having passed a state-sanctioned training course and paying to obtain a license,” argues Rep. Jim Runestad, R-White Lake, one of the eight backers of the package. “Bureaucracy and fees do not make people better drivers. Requiring a special permit to carry a concealed weapon just forces inefficient spending and inconveniences responsible gun owners.”
The legislation, House Bills 5301, 5302, 5303, and 5304 would update Michigan’s laws on concealed weapons established as far back as 1927. With the proposed changes, penalties for unlawful carry will remain while law-abiding adults aged 21 and over would be able to carry a gun without first going through a training class and obtain a permit. Open carry is already legal in the state.
Currently issued by county officials although local gun boards were disestablished last year, Michigan had some 497,016 active permits as of December 2015. Should the permitless carry bills pass, CCW licenses would still be issued for reciprocity purposes while traveling out of state.
Seven states already have constitutional carry laws on the books with Maine and Kansas added to the list last year. Michigan, with nearly 10 million residents, would be the largest state to adopt such a measure.
Gun control advocates term the proposal dangerous and fear it could lead to a return to the days of the Wild West.
“I think it’s problematic because it sets up a vigilante kind of society,” said Linda Brundage of the Michigan Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence. “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.”
Should the GOP unite behind the package, moving the legislation through the capitol with strong majorities in both chambers, could come easy. However, Gov. Rick Snyder, though nominally a Republican, has vetoed numerous gun reform bills in the past few years.