Detroit Suburb Invites Lawsuit With New Rule for Gun Buyers

AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

Michigan is one of a handful of states that require would-be gun owners to obtain a permit before they can purchase a firearm, though there is an exception for those with valid concealed carry licenses or a federal firearms license. Most first-time gun owners, however, are subjected to the process of obtaining a gun permit before heading down to their local gun shop, and the Detroit suburb of Wayne just made it much more difficult for those buyers to exercise their Second Amendment rights. 

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Even if this move wasn't intentionally designed to suppress the number of gun owners in town, it will have that effect. Many residents may find it impossible to go down to the police department to get their Second Amendment permission slip in the four hours a week that's allotted to them, especially if they're hourly workers who can't easily adjust their schedule. 

According to the department's website, you can't even drop off a completed application for the department to process and approve within a reasonable amount of time. Instead, "Applications must be filled out at the Records Bureau to begin the process." If you can't fill out your application in person on a Wednesday afternoon, you're out of luck. 

Some people may choose to do that, but unlike a CPL, the gun permit doesn't come with any fees or training mandates, so going that route imposes an even bigger burden to first-time gun buyers. 

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That may be the case going forward, but for now the gun permit law is being enforced, which means that if you want to buy a firearm from a gun store you do need the department-issued permission slip. 

It may be that the police department, like many others, is having difficulty with their staffing levels. I feel for them, but if they are tasked with issuing these permits then they have a duty and an obligation to accept and process applications in a way that doesn't impose an undue burden on residents. If they fail to meet that obligation, they should expect to be sued.

Interestingly enough, it appears that the Wayne PD has taken down its post on X, which was published on April 1st. Was this the department's idea of a joke, or was the backlash enough to get officials to rethink their decision? The department hasn't issued any additional posts to clarify the current hours its accepting gun permit applications, and when I called the Records Bureau to speak to someone in person I was shunted off to voicemail. If and when I hear back I'l update this post, and I hope that cooler heads will have prevailed and this will be a non-issue. Otherwise, I hope that city officials are ready for the legal blowback to the new operating hours, which impose an untenable burden on Wayne residents who want to exercise their Second Amendment right to keep a firearm in their home. 

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