A Michigan lawmaker thinks that she’s come up with the solution for the months-long delays for concealed carry licenses in Detroit and other jurisdictions across the state where gun owners have been twiddling their thumbs waiting for their applications to be processed. Republican state senator Lana Theis has introduced a bill that she says would ensure applications continue to be processed, even if the state issues more COVID-19 shutdown measures.
It would exempt county clerks from a shutdown order, so they can continue to issue and renew concealed pistol licenses. The clerk’s office and law enforcement would also be required to continue providing the fingerprinting services necessary to obtain a new concealed pistol license as well.
Theis said the bill was prompted by what she called “Gov. Whitmer’s unconstitutional shutdown of Michigan” saying that county clerks across the state “infringed on law-abiding citizens’ Second Amendment rights by refusing or delaying the issue or renewal of concealed pistol licenses under the guise of public safety,” referencing the Governor’s public health orders to try and limit the spread of the virus. The Michigan Supreme Court recently ruled those orders exceeded her Constitutional authority without legislative approval.
As of a few weeks ago, the wait time just to apply for a concealed carry license has stretched to nine months for Detroit residents, and Theis is correct in saying that the Second Amendment rights of gun owners are being infringed because of the long delays.
“I’m a single woman, I’m a homeowner, I’m an entrepreneur,” said Kristal Hunt. “(I am a) businesswoman who frequents a location constantly late at night, so with those factors – all those together, it’s like ok, now it’s time to protect myself.”
Right now appointments to wrap up the CPL process are about nine months out if you live in Wayne County. The wait time for an appointment in Oakland and Macomb counties are at best a week and some change. At worst, two to three weeks.
“It seems like that’s the common thing in Wayne County; it’s barriers when you’re trying to go about things in the right way. It’s people doing this the legit way, why are we having so many barriers?” Hunt said.
Under Theis’ proposal, not only would county clerks continue processing applications under a shutdown order, but the process would be tweaked so that existing concealed carry holders could renew their licenses online, even during a declared emergency.
Republicans kept their legislative majorities in the Michigan state house on Election Day, which bolsters the prospects of Theis’ bill getting to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s desk in the coming months. The GOP doesn’t have the votes to override a Whitmer veto, but it will be interesting to see if they can garner any support from rural Democrats or even Wayne County lawmakers who might not want to publicly tell residents of the most dangerous city in America that their Second Amendment rights should be placed on hold for months on end simply because of a government edict.
Beyond Michigan, Theis’ legislation could easily be tweaked by legislators in states like Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Massachusetts, and others that have seen lengthy delays as well. Her bill could end up serving as model legislation for lawmakers around the country, offering up the hope of a legislative remedy for a very real problem that’s impacting hundreds of thousands of Americans who want to be able to protect themselves with a firearm outside of their home.