For a lot of us, the unending complexity of gun regulations is baffling, if only because the plain text of the Second Amendment says “the people’s right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
Despite that quite clear text, there’s a whole lot of infringing going on all over the country. It’s in everything from rules about where you can carry to rules about who can carry a firearm. It’s not enough to restrict gun ownership in general, the laws in many states also creates a completely different category of person who has permission to carry a firearm.
Many other states, however, have since done away with that, creating what’s commonly known as “constitutional carry.”
Now, a bill in the Michigan House seeks to add that state to the growing number of states that have embraced the idea.
Michigan residents wouldn’t need a permit to carry a concealed firearm – and could carry them into locations where they’re currently off-limits – under bills currently up for debate in a state House committee.
The main piece of the five-bill package, House Bill 4770, would eliminate current restrictions on carrying concealed weapons and storing them in vehicles, and make a CPL license unnecessary – although gun owners still could opt to get the license.
Another bill, House Bill 4471, would repeal several existing licensing requirements for gun owners and allow concealed carry in places currently considered gun-free zones, like churches, daycares and hospitals. People still couldn’t concealed carry in schools under the legislation, and privately-run businesses would still have discretion over whether to allow guns on the premises, bill sponsors said.
State Rep. Steven Johnson, R-Wayland, told the House Military, Veterans and Homeland Security Committee Tuesday that the bills wouldn’t change who can purchase a firearm in Michigan, and argued removing the need for a concealed license could lift a financial burden off of law-abiding gun owners.
“As long as I’m legally allowed to possess a firearm, to own a firearm, I can do that, but the second I put a coat on…I can commit a five-year felony unless I have this special card,” Johnson said while holding up his CPL license. “This is about protecting good law-abiding Michiganders.”
A lot of states leave the permits in place despite ending the requirement for them due to things like reciprocity. Other states won’t necessarily recognize constitutional carry–the only do if it applies to their citizens, after all–so the permit allows individuals to present something that can be recognized outside of their home jurisdiction.
However, the day-to-day dealings within the state of Michigan wouldn’t require them.
That’s actually about as good a deal as you’re generally going to get in a state. Especially if you’re potentially going to leave the state for any reason whatsoever.
So what are the odds of this passing? Well, that’s hard to say from where I’m sitting. I’m not in Michigan, so I can’t really say. The constitutional carry bill does have about 15 co-sponsors as of this writing, which is a decent sign.
Removing some of the limits on concealed carriers is also good news. It currently has 18 co-sponsors in addition to the bill’s original sponsor, so it may have some legs as well.
The fact that the Michigan Legislature has GOP majorities in both the House and the Senate are also promising. That said, we’ve seen numerous times when those legislative majorities were less than meaningless when it came to advancing gun rights in many states.
Still, let’s hope this one goes through for the good people of Michigan.