No permit needed? Lawmakers propose concealed carry changes

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LANSING, Mich. — Gun owners might soon be able to carry a concealed pistol without having to get a government-issued permit to do so under new legislation proposed this month.

The 'Constitutional carry' legislation introduced by Michigan House Republicans would allow "law-abiding" citizens 21 years or older to carry a concealed firearm without a permit.

>> Read more: MI HB 5301

“Many people don’t realize right now, it is perfectly legal for any legal gun owner to open carry in all parts of Michigan, unless it is in a pistol-free zone," said Rep. Triston Cole, R-Mancelona, one of four Republicans who co-sponsored the package of bills.

"What changes when they put a jacket on?”

Cole contends the state's current Concealed Pistol License, or CPL, permit mandate is  "pure government over-reach," adding the changes would not make it any easier for criminals to get their hands on guns.

“People are getting excited about the idea of more people concealing handguns, well this isn’t going to allow more criminals to do that," Cole said. "This is about legal gun owners having more freedom and ability to carry their firearms.”

Under the proposal, penalties for the unlawful possession of a gun will remain in place and gun owners still have to pass a background check, he said.

But safety training courses currently part of the permitting process would no longer be mandated.

"Just owning a gun does not mean you’re protected, anymore than owning a guitar makes me a musician," said Mike Visser, the lead instructor for firearms training at Silver Bullet Firearms in Wyoming.

Visser, a staunch proponent of gun ownership, said it's crucially important to know how to properly and safely use a firearm, which is why he currently teaches six CPL permitting courses per week with anywhere between four to seven students in each class. He said he's booked through next month.

“The course goes well beyond just knowing how to use the gun, because to get through the Michigan concealed pistol permit course, you do have to be a proficient shooter," Visser told FOX 17.

“You have to know how to use these things, you have to know how to do it well and you have to do it responsibly.”

But even Visser admits he can understand both sides of the argument, questioning whether the state should mandate gun owners spend hundreds of dollars on training and permitting for what he considers a Constitutional right.

“It does really get very sticky because you have one side of the argument saying we want people to be trained on this stuff, and the flip side to this is you’ve got the Second Amendment here," he said.

Six other states—Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Maine and Vermont—currently have Constitutional carry laws on the books.

Constitutional carry states

Constitutional carry states

Changing the law would not stop the state from being able to issue CPL permits and guns owners would still be able to complete training and certification courses. It's something Cole said he encourages every gun owner to do, but contends it's unfair to mandate it.

"This isn’t something about gun nuts in Michigan going wild with carry, this is something other states have done and again, the sky has not fallen," he said.

This latest proposal follows changes made in December to how concealed carry permits are approved in Michigan due to the elimination of county gun boards.

A committee hearing for the legislation has not yet been scheduled.

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  • Andrew

    The only function a permit performs currently is that it generates revenue for the state/county. Since it is a right, the government can not deny that right simply as a means to generate revenue. There has to be a secondary function that the permit process provides which is of significant social benefit, in order for the permitting process to be legally justifiable. Such a process could (and I would argue SHOULD) perform the function of screening out those who do not qualify to carry handguns legally, such as felons, non-citizens, and the mentally ill. **IF** our current system actually did this, then I would argue that it is a necessary and worthwhile system. But it does not perform that function in any fashion whatsoever beyond nominally. Therefore, I would support this bill. I would rather have a system that effectively screened people, but until such a system is created there is no justification for the government charging money to people for exercising a right.

  • Randy

    I certainly hope this committee considers the effects this change could have on Concealed Carry Permit Reciprocity with other states.

    • Matt Gardner

      The Permit is not going away, it just becomes optional which will also hold in place the reciprocity agreements to other states.

    • Name

      Thats why you take the cpl course… The law doesnt change the fact that you need a mich cpl to travel through other cpl states that honor michigans cpl permits, it just allows mi residents their 2nd ammendment rights!

  • Woody Dickman

    Every time I read another proposal about gun ownership, (this one being for Michigan residents) I just get more angry at our Legislators, and most especially the NRA, who always stand on the 2nd. Amendment. The problem with these phonies is that they serve only their constituents in the States that already have gun laws that “allow” private citizens to own and carry guns. I live in Mew York, one of many States where it is virtually impossible to even get a permit to cassy a gun. My understanding of the US Constitution is that not even a State (including its States Rights) can pass laws that violate the Constitution. The 2nd Amendment that these NRA phonies always stand on when they make a puny challenge at all while asking for our money, even in States where we aren’t “allowed” to carry, says, “the right of the PEOPLE to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” ell, I’m people, and so are all of the others in States that don’t “allow” people to carry. So when you actually grow a pair of BaIIs, and actually do fight for all of us under the 2nd. Amendment, maybe then you’ll deserve some credibility, and our money to support you. Until then, you’re all just a bunch of frauds and phonies.

  • Woody Dickman

    Obviously a typo, this crapy site doesn’t even show spell checker, or even have an “Edit” function to make a correction.

    • Kenneth Hall

      Woody, I’m sorry that you live in a socialist hell hole in New York. If I lived there I would move to a more conservative state. As far as I and a lot of conservatives are concerned New York and California are lost causes. They have both gone beyond the tipping point and are hopelessly socialist.

  • Joseph Romano

    I am whole heartedly behind all states doing this BUT, at the same time, I believe there is nothing wrong with people being required to take a firearms class. It should be taught, however, by policemen for free! We pay for it with our taxes, and once you take the course, you never have to take it again. We have to have drivers ed, seems logical to firearms basic safety training.

  • John Scott Amos

    The permit and cost associated with it are a method to keep the poor and ignorant from obtaining the unfettered right to conceal and carry. Similar to voting disenfranchisement. There are rules about carrying and declaration to a police officer, for one example, that people would likely not know if they have not looked into getting a permit. The education process is not just there to grub money. Education is paramount if we are to properly brandish weapons. It is a responsibility that must not be tajen lightly.

  • Andrew Ware

    I, like thousands of others, do not need a civilian gun instructor. We were in the Military; we know and knew all about guns and their effects. And with discipline too. The ”permit” is BS. It keeps those who want simply to feel safe in the plain and obvious mad-gun- world of the killers I crime wworld at constant large. No Permits,, just like in Alaska.. It works OK.

  • Kenneth Hall

    Of course the guys running the training don’t want this, they make good money for the mandatory classes they provide. Tell them to offer the classes at no cost. I bet their tune will change.

    • William Sturges

      Permits are not needed to carry but permits are still being used and offered as the are 25 other states that recognize michigan’s CPL permits.

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