Moms Demand Action ... Against Youth Hunting?

The gun control group Moms Demand Action held a rally yesterday at the State Capitol. Their main focus was to promote a bill introduced almost a year ago which would require background checks for all firearms, not just pistols. But, as we wrote when it was introduced, it would do much more.
By extending the current pistol law to all firearms, it would actually ban youth hunting with firearms! We vowed not to let this bill see the light of day, and thankfully it hasn’t. But since gun control groups are once again dredging it up, here’s the analysis of the bill we wrote when it was introduced:
004A new bill introduced in the Michigan Legislature would apply all current license requirements for acquiring, carrying, possessing or transporting a pistol to all firearms, except antiques. I'll give you a moment to let the consequences of such a bill sink in.
House Bill 4774 was introduced by Rep. Jim Townsend (D - Royal Oak) on May 28, 2013. It literally goes through Michigan's current law on pistol licensing and background checks, crosses out the word "pistol" and inserts "firearm."
Yes, that means that old .30-'06 or 12-gauge you wanted to pass on to your son, daughter or grandchild when they're old enough would have to wait on them getting a license to purchase from the local law enforcement agency.
The Michigan State Police website's FAQ's summarize the current requirements for legally owning a pistol:
  • A License to Purchase is a license required prior to acquisition of a pistol by purchase or gift. The important part of the License to Purchase is the affidavit signed by the purchaser swearing to their own qualifications. A License to Purchase is not needed for anyone with a valid Michigan Concealed Pistol License, for firearms dealers purchasing from wholesalers, or for relics, curios, antiques, etc., not made for modern ammunition. Someone with a valid Michigan Concealed Pistol License must, however, complete a Pistol Sales Record when purchasing or acquiring a pistol.
  • The prospective purchaser obtain a License to Purchase, which is valid for 30 days, from the local law enforcement agency. The purchaser must sign a notarized sworn statement that they meet the Michigan qualifications to purchase/obtain a pistol. At the time of the purchase, the purchaser and the seller complete the form. The License to Purchase, must be returned in person or by certified or first class mail to the local law enforcement agency within 30 days.
HB 4774 would apply these requirements to all firearms, including hunting rifles and shotguns, except for blackpowder antiques (pre-1898) and replicas that cannot shoot modern ammunition or have been permanently disabled.
And as if that wasn't onerous enough for adult hunters, target and competitive shooters, and other legal firearm owners, there is another major implication to this bill that could virtually eliminate youth firearm hunting.
Under current law, youth under 18 years of age cannot hunt with a handgun because the current law only allows youth to be in possession of a pistol when they are at a recognized target range, in possession only for the purpose of target practice and safety instruction, and accompanied by their parent or guardian and the owner of the pistol (A proposed bill, HB 5085, would allow firearms training instructors, as well). Thus, they cannot hunt with a pistol. Since HB 4774 applies these restrictions to all firearms, not just pistols, it effectively bans youth hunting with firearms!
I would hope that the sponsor and co-sponsors of this bill did not intend to criminalize youth firearm hunting, but the consequences of the bill would be the same whether they intended it or not. It does, however, prove that the sponsors of the bill have little to no experience with firearms, hunting or youth hunting in particular, which makes you wonder what they're doing drafting legislation that has anything to do with any of these subjects.
Michigan United Conservation Clubs has been protecting the rights to hunt, fish and trap since 1937, and one of the purposes and objectives of our organization is to "protect and defend the right of our citizens to own, keep, and bear arms." And we didn't just pass the Hunter Heritage Bill to let anti-gun legislators ban youth hunting with firearms. We're going to fight tooth and nail to make sure this bill never sees the light of day, and you can help us by joining MUCC, uniting citizens to conserve, protect and enhance Michigan's natural resources and outdoor heritage for over 75 years.

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