Michigan Concealed Carry Permit Holders Argue For NICS Exception

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In many states, possessing a concealed carry permit means you can skip the background check when purchasing a firearm. You simply present your permit and it serves as a testament to the fact that you are, indeed, eligible to purchase a firearm. Since losing that eligibility means losing the permit, it’s a solid system.

The ATF actually allows this, too, which is surprising from an agency that seems to be dedicated to making life more difficult for gun owners. Assuming that the ATF finds the state’s requirements are sufficient.

Yet not every state’s meet those standards, apparently. In Michigan, those with permits are demanding the same exemption.

Michigan residents with concealed handgun permits should not be required to submit to background checks under federal law when they buy guns, an advocacy group argued Tuesday before a federal appeals panel.

Gun Owners of America, which filed a federal lawsuit alongside Donald Roberts II in 2020, says the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives violated the Administrative Procedure Act when it abruptly changed its interpretation of federal law in 2019 to require Michigan residents to submit to background checks when they buy guns.

The ATF determined the Michigan statute regarding concealed pistol licenses, or CPLs, no longer qualified for an exemption under the Brady Handgun Violence Protection Act, even though the state law has not changed since its passage in 2005.

The decision came on the heels of an updated interpretation of the CPL law by the Michigan State Police, who determined in 2017 it was required only to “access” criminal background information, not make final determinations regarding a buyer’s eligibility under federal law.

Gun Owners of America argued in federal court the ATF exceeded its statutory authority when it reinterpreted the law and issued a public safety advisory in March 2020 to advise Michigan residents they would be required to submit to background checks for gun purchases, regardless of their state license status.

But U.S. District Judge Thomas Ludington, an appointee of George W. Bush, found the ATF’s interpretation of the statute was reasonable because it ensures a buyer is allowed to obtain a firearm under both state and federal laws. He also rejected the gun advocate group’s claim that inconsistent advice from federal agencies led to the public safety advisory, and pointed out Michigan’s change of position since 2005 resulted in the exemption being revoked.

Honestly, I’m not crazy with the ATF making determinations on who can do what under federal law anyway. That should be for Congress to decide, not a bureaucrat with a law enforcement agency.

As for Judge Ludington’s ruling, well, I get where he’s coming from. People can still buy firearms if they’re eligible. It just takes a little bit longer, but nothing will stop them.

Yet the Second Amendment doesn’t provide an exception for any infringements to the right to keep and bear arms. Just because people can still purchase firearms doesn’t mean no infringement is taking place, and that’s the issue.

I understand where GOA is coming from, and I don’t know that Ludington’s decision will survive a Supreme Court challenge on those grounds.

Nor should it, really.

Frankly, I’m getting kind of sick of this kind of nonsense. “Oh, you can still buy a gun, so it’s all good.” No, it’s not. Every hurdle thrown up for gun owners is an infringement. It’s a violation of the Second Amendment in letter and in spirit.

Meanwhile, criminals are still getting guns without any issue. They’re buying them left and right on the streets of Detroit like they were Pokemon cards, for crying out loud. There’s absolutely nothing being accomplished here except to inconvenience law-abiding citizens wishing to purchase a firearm. Especially since people with concealed carry permits are less likely to commit criminal acts than even judges.

And yet, these are the arguments we get from supposedly conservative judges. This is what passes for conservative rulings? If so, then wow. Just…wow.

You can’t tell me we can’t do any better. Michigan’s concealed carry permit holders damn sure deserve that, as do the rest of us.

Nov 26, 2021 10:30 AM ET