When you have any kind of a license that’s good for several years, it’s easy to think you’re good to go when you’re not. Just this year, I found that I’d been driving on an expired license for months. I’d even gone through a DUI checkpoint with that license and no one said a thing. It happens.
Yet, in many places, the penalties for forgetting your carry permit expired is life destroying.
Take Michigan, for instance. Currently, if you’re found to be carrying a weapon with an expired permit, you face losing your rights to own guns completely. However, that may soon change.
The proposal would reduce penalties for those who carry concealed firearms with expired concealed carry permits to a $330 fine rather than a five-year felony charge, so long as the permit is within six months of expiring at the time of the violation. The fine could be waived if the permit is renewed within 60 days of the violation.
“A person who has underwent firearms training, has exercised their Constitutional rights responsibly, and has every intention of following the rules doesn’t deserve to face felony charges merely for forgetting about the expiration date on their CPL,” said Republican Rep. Shane Hernandez, the bill’s main sponsor. “This is common sense legislation that I feel is long overdue.”
The proposal had overwhelming support from Republicans and even garnered some Democratic support, including that of Rep. David LaGrand, who voted for the bill and urged fellow lawmakers to draft similar legislation for drivers with expired licenses. Such a violation is currently a misdemeanor and could get motorists 90 days in jail and a $100 fine.
To be sure, there will be some who argue that you just shouldn’t let your permit expire, that you should pay attention to details like that and you’ll never have a problem. They are absolutely right, and let’s be honest here. A $330 fine is still nothing to sneeze at. It’s plenty of motivation to stay on top of it all on its own, without creating new felons and a strain on the legal system for what amounts to a mental lapse that harmed no one.
No one thinks such things shouldn’t be punished, and Michigan won’t really. While fines may be waived, that’s hardly mandatory. That means the specter of a hefty fine should keep people from gambling on carrying with a license they know is expired.
However, it’s also a good to keep up with when your various permits and licenses expire. License plates are easy since it’s annually and by your birthday (at least in Georgia), but drivers licenses need to be kept up with–see my tale at the top. I’m not proud of that–as well as carry permits and possibly any occupational licensing you need may cover more than one year and expire at different times.
In Michigan, though, it might be nice to know a simple mistake on the date of your permit won’t land you in prison.