Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Some Good Michigan Firearms Bills and One Problematic One

A good, pro-firearms pair of bills are moving through the Michigan House.

These bills, HR 4490 and HR 4491 remove the need for Michiganians (Michigunners?) to present their handguns after purchase to be registered in the so-called "Safety Inspection process". The bills maintain the requirement that a pistol purchases permit or a Concealed Pistol Permit is required to purchases a handgun.

These bills make sense. Registration of handguns in Michigan has failed to solve crime and takes up police resources that could be better dedicated elsewhere, as well as inconveniencing law-abiding pistol purchasers who need to take time off work to go to their local police or sheriff's department to have the pistol inspected.

While the pistol purchase permit remains, it provides a gate-keeping function to ensure a purchaser is legally able to posses a firearm, which is not a bad thing, and it is not needed if you have already jumped through the legal hoops and qualified to get a Concealed Pistol Permit.

Another firearms House Bill 5108 which would exempt veterans and former police officers from CPL training is more troubling. This bill would remove the training requirement for veterans and for former police officers applying for their Concealed Pistol Permit.

While well intentioned, this is a mistake. While many veterans may be proficient with pistols, many may not. More importantly, the training required in the State of Michigan includes instruction in the laws regarding the use of deadly force in Michigan and the laws relating to the Concealed Pistol Permit and veterans are not informed regarding these laws and restrictions.

Veterans were trained in a very different manner, that of use of a pistol in a combat situation - which has much fewer restrictions on the use of deadly force than everyday civilian carry. Veterans need to be informed regarding the laws in Michigan regarding both deadly force and where they can and cannot carry their pistol. Indeed, former police officers likely do not know the law regarding where they can or cannot carry under the CPL laws and they could certainly get into trouble by carrying in a manner that they were used to but which is prohibited for a civilian - for example a permit holder may not carry a firearm together with the consumption of any alcohol, carry in a hospital and the list goes on.

Thus the bill, while well intentioned will likely create more problems and headaches for the veterans and former police officers than their attendance at the required training class.

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