Wednesday, January 07, 2009

New Revisions to Michigan's Concealed Pistol Laws

Some new changes have now been implemented to Michigan's statutes regarding the carrying of concealed firearms by the law abiding.

First a change that will affect very few (as reported in the Lansing State Journal: Mich. judges get weapons leeway under new law

Judges in Michigan who have concealed carry permits may now carry their pistols into the zones that are pistol-free zones such as schools, stadiums, hospitals, daycare centers, entertainment facilities that seat more than 2500 people, and bars (at least these are pistol-free from law abiding citizens).

I can understand the rationale, as Judges often deal with criminals who may wish to get back at them, and the criminals are not exactly respectful of judges and might assault them in such areas or the law regarding firearms in such zones.

The same rationale should apply to all law abiding citizens and these zones should be removed and every law abiding citizen should be permitted to similarly enter such places while carrying firearms without penalty. Indeed, if fear of crime is the problem, change the law to make it a felony with a penalty og up to 5 years in jail for any felon to carry a firearm into those places (in addition to the felon in possession law already in place).

Now for a more far reaching change regarding the registration of handguns: Public Act 194 of 2008 just went into effect. This act changes the registration prcess for pistols, does away with the former end product of registration, the "Safety inspection certificate" and is a bit confusing.

Effective now, when you purchase a firearm without a permit, you will go to your local police and get a 4 part (formerly 3 part) purchase permit.

If you have a Concealed pistol license, you can buy a pistol with your licenses.

After purchase, in both cases, the new revised RI 60 Form (available in .pdf at the link) must be filled out. The seller keeps one copy, the buyer must either personally deliver or mail by regular or certified mail two of the forms back to their local police and keep the third form with the pistol (if carried the form must be with the pistol or still with the pistol if not carried) for 30 days. The law now adds that in order to posses a pistol, it must be registered to you by the above steps, which is a new and burdensome requirement.

This seems like the legislature started to get rid of the burdensome and rather useless registration scheme that has been in effect in Michigan for quite some time, during which it has had no provable deterrent effect on firearms crime. But then, for some reason, the legislature punted and went to a half-way measure rather than eliminating the flawed system in toto.

So we now have a hybrid monster of registration, with a problem of proof that the buyer did return the forms to the local police agency within 10 days of purchase. If the buyer fails to do so, it is a civil infraction with a $250 fine.

Under the old system, the proof you had sent the purchase info back to your local police was the inspection certificate (green card) you got back after bringing the pistol and purchase permit or RI60 to your local police. Now since you can mail by regular mail, or drop the 2 copies of the form in person, proof that you did so may be harder to find, and thus expose law abiding firearms owners to a $250 fine. By adding the requirement that the purchase form must be carried with the pistol for 30 days, it similarly creates a new potential for a pistol buyer to find themselves in violation if they forget to do so.

In addition, the law now adds "motor carrier officers [officers who enforce laws relating to commercial truckers and other motor carriers] and "security personnel employed by the state" in Lansing or Windsor Township, Eaton County, to the definition of peace officers who must be immediately informed the CPL holder is carrying a firearm if stopped by these officers and security personnel.

This new act is hopefully a half-way measure that will be further revised and fixed. As it currently stands, it is not a great improvement in firearms law and neither fixes any real presenting problem nor really corrects some of the existing flaws in Michigan's firearms laws. However, its now the law, so it needs to be carefully followed by the law abiding firearms owners of Michigan.


christian soldier said...

Maybe I should move back to Michigan--here in CA it is almost impossible to get a 'permit' to carry...

A Jacksonian said...

That is *not* a 'well regulated militia', to say the least.

In VA a basic pistol course and forms get you a CCW. Of course it is also an Open Carry State, and one of the few at that. The legislature does try to make that nearly impossible with the regulations involved... still it is the default outside of that. The 'one pistol per month' deal without the CCW is a bit screwy, though. Luckily a C&R gets you around that for older arms... really, I'm surprised that more people don't get the C&R.