Michigan Firearm Law Changes Update

You may or may not have noticed, but there has been a flurry of firearm related bills flying around both the House and Senate recently.
By and large, these are good bills that are intended to make life easier for citizens legally owning and using firearms in this state, be it for hunting, shooting, or personal safety.
Below, MUCC provides a brief run-down on many of these bills and update where they are at in the legislative process:
SB 59 – Senate Bill 59, sponsored by Senator Mike Green (R-Mayville), and which passed the Senate Committee on Natural Resources, Environment, and Great Lakes, makes a number of major changes for Concealed Pistol License (CPL) applicants and CPL holders designed to streamline and standardize the process.
  • Eliminate county concealed weapon licensing boards and transfer those duties and functions to county sheriffs;
  • Set a consistent timeline of 45 days for processing initial and renewal CPL applications;
  • Require the CPL applicant to appear in front of a licensing authority only if the authority has reason to believe the applicant might not qualify for the license;
  • Require the county to partially refund the application fee for an individual whose license was not processed within the mandated timeline;
  • Each county would establish a CPL fund for the purposes of administering the law;
  • Require immediate reinstatement of a suspended CPL when the suspension expires, and would allow for a maximum fee of $10 for the reinstatement of the license;
  • Require the county clerk to notify a licensee before his or her CPL has expired;
  • Allow a CPL applicant or licensee to seek an exemption for no-carry zones based on additional hours of training, rounds fired, and class time;
  • Would require a beefed up training and safety program that requires at least 8 hours of instruction, and firing at least 98 rounds on a firing range with instruction.
The bill is still waiting for action on the Senate floor. Some of the major concerns have been the costs to the county sheriffs and clerks for absorbing this system. Concerns are also likely to surface over the no-carry zones as the bill moves forward.
HB 5282 – Under current Michigan law, pistol owners who do not have CPLs are only allowed to transport their pistol in a vehicle if they are carrying the pistol for a “lawful purpose” and the pistol is unloaded and cased. Some of these “lawful purposes” include travelling to or from a hunting or shooting place, travelling to or from a gun show or place of purchase, travelling to or from a gun repair shop, or moving houses or businesses.
The problem seems to be that if a person were to take any detour from these “lawful purposes” – say to stop for gas, stop at the restroom, or stop for lunch – you would no longer be transporting within the law. In fact, there have even been a few instances around the state of people being prosecuted for such a detour.
House Bill 5282, sponsored by Rep. Bruce Rendon (R-Lake City), would get rid of those definitions of “lawful purpose,” and, in essence, broaden the scope of what a lawful purpose is. Owners of licensed pistols will still be required to have a lawful purpose for transporting their pistol in a vehicle, but could rest easy that a run through the drive through on the way to the range, or stopping for gas en route to camp would not be an everyday occurrence that lands them in front of a judge.
SB 984 – Another bill to file in the “repealing Michigan antiquated firearm laws” folder is Senate Bill 984, brought forth by Senator Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba). SB 984 would allow for Michigan residents to purchase long-guns from any state in the nation as long as that state follows current federal firearms laws.
Under the original Gun Control Act, a ban was put in place on the interstate sale of firearms. Under an exemption, Michigan residents currently can only purchase long-guns from federally licensed dealers (FFLs) in contiguous (connecting) states.
This bill would get rid of the requirement that the purchasing state be contiguous, and would free Michigan residents to purchase rifles and shotguns in any state as long as the state follows federal firearm laws.
The bill could also be a potential boost for Michigan firearm retailers as it would allow out-of-state guests to purchase rifles and shotguns in Michigan.
SB 1045 – People with disabilities would be able to transport firearms in a vehicle, such as an ORV or golf cart (but not cars and trucks) on state licensed game bird hunting preserves under a bill sponsored by Senator John Gleason (D-Flushing).  The bill comes as an idea to get more people involved in the outdoors who might otherwise have difficulties due to various disabilities.
Those eligible would also be able to fire a shot from the vehicle as long as the vehicle was not in motion. The bill took testimony recently in the Senate Committee on Outdoor Recreation and Tourism, and is slated to be voted on shortly.
HB 5322 –Introduced by Rep. Kurt Heise (R-Plymouth), HB 5322 would allow for the transportation of unloaded firearms on a sporting clays range. The bill, which recently passed the House Judiciary committee and is on the House floor, is being touted to help elderly and disabled shooters who have difficulty walking between stations or over uneven terrain.
HB 5249 – This is an interesting one for all of you science nerds and ballistic nuts out there. HB 5249, sponsored by Rep. Matt Lori (R-Constantine), would allow for the use of certain firearms and ammunition in the southern shotgun zone during deer season. The firearms included are:
  • A shotgun with a smooth or rifled barrel;
  • A .35 caliber or larger pistol loaded with straight walled cartridges;
  • A muzzle-loading rifle or black-powder rifle loaded with black powder or commercially manufactured black powder substitute;
  • A .35 caliber or larger rifle loaded with straight-walled cartridges with a minimum case length of 1.16 inches and maximum length of 1.80 inches.
These cartridges would be the same as handgun cartridges already legally used in the shotgun zone, and ammunition specifications show that these firearms and corresponding ammunition have equal or less power, velocity, and noise as current legal firearms.
The bill was modeled after current Indiana law that allows the same firearms and rounds. MUCC’s members passed a resolution at the Annual Convention in 2010 that supports the concept of this legislation. The bill heard testimony recently in the House Natural Resources committee.
This is just a start. More appear to be coming and MUCC will keep you posted.

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