Lawmakers in the Michigan House passed a bill Wednesday that would allow lawful gun owners to carry concealed firearms without having to obtain a permit.
Supporters said the bill was a win for lawful gun owners, arguing it protected their Second Amendment rights and got rid of unnecessary fees and wait times for permits.
Pointing to a copy of the Constitution, Republican Rep. Lee Chatfield said all law abiding citizens have the right to carry a concealed weapon.
“Criminals do not obey the law. Criminals don’t obey the gun laws we have now. And criminals won’t obey the new gun laws we pass. That is why they’re called criminals,” Chatfield said.
“I wholeheartedly believe allowing law-abiding citizens to have the same freedoms that criminals already do in this state will make our communities safer,” he said.
Democratic opponents argued the bill would make communities less safe as it would do away with the safety training classes currently required to carry concealed firearms. Opponents also complained that misdemeanor offenders would be allowed to carry concealed weapons if the bill becomes law.
Howell Chief of Police George Basar, legislative committee chairman for the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police, also voiced concerns that the legislation could endanger communities due to the lack of safety training required.
“It could be potentially devastating,” he said. “Someone needs to know the limits and the responsibilities and the bounds in which they can use a weapon in that capacity for a civilian.”
The four bill package now heads to the Senate for consideration.