When it comes to politics, there’s no such thing as overkill. Members of the Michigan House of Representatives introduced four separate bills that would legalize permitless carry in The Wolverine State. Representatives Lee Chatfield (R-Levering), Triston Cole (R-Mancelona), Tom Barrett (R-Potterville), and Jim Runestad, (R-White Lake), introduced the bills earlier this month, which if passed, would make Michigan the 8th state to have what is now commonly called “constitutional carry.” The lawmakers argue that law-abiding citizens that want to protect themselves should not have to apply for a Concealed Pistol License (CPL) before being able to carry a concealed weapon. Open carry in Michigan already requires no permit.
“We are required to take a driver’s test occasionally to get or maintain our driver’s licenses, but tens of thousands of people are killed in traffic accidents every year, regardless of having passed a state-sanctioned training course and paying to obtain a license,” Rep. Runestad said in a joint press release. “Bureaucracy and fees do not make people better drivers. Requiring a special permit to carry a concealed weapon just forces inefficient spending and inconveniences responsible gun owners.”
Strong support for gun rights in Michigan had already lead to the loosening of the permit system. Early last year governor Rick Snyder signed a law that did away with the state’s county gun boards and required the state police to create an online renewal process.
“This is common-sense legislation to give lawful gun owners another option for self-defense,” Rep. Chatfield said. “People who desire a permit to carry a concealed weapon, perhaps because it is necessary to carry a concealed pistol in another state, could still take the necessary training and obtain a permit. A license to carry just would not be required in Michigan.”
“Criminals don’t have to go through a training class and wait for government permission to have a handgun before they commit armed robbery, yet a law-abiding citizen who simply wants the option of self-defense has to jump through all the hoops and pay a price to carry a concealed weapon,” Rep. Cole said. “People who want to ensure the safety of their families against the criminal element should not have to beg for that right.”
Cole and his colleagues say they viewed the permitting process as an example of government overreach, and that it is long past time that Michigan joined other states in introducing permitless carry. If passed, Michigan would also be the most populated state to enact constitutional carry. The bills are expected to meet a fight however, and many gun control groups are staunchly opposed to permitless carry policies. In addition, governor Rick Snyder has historically had a mixed record on gun reform laws. The governor has not said whether he supports the legislation.