GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Supporters of proposed legislation that would eliminate licensing requirements to carry a concealed weapon in Michigan say they expect the governor to be a significant hurdle in getting the bill signed into law.
House Bill 4416 is expected to get a full vote on the floor of the state House of Representatives before the end of the week. The legislation would eliminate laws that require concealed pistol carriers to have a concealed pistol license. Currently, to get a CPL, applicants must pay to attend a full-day class.
Proponents say the proposed law is about the rights of gun owners.
“What this legislation does is it opens up the options for them,” said Tom Lambert, president of Michigan Open Carry Inc. “This is important because it first and foremost respects the rights of the individual.”
Lambert said he recognized that getting Gov. Rick Snyder to sign off on the legislation could be the biggest challenge.
“Most people know by now, the governor is really not hot on Second Amendment-related issues,” Lambert said. “Every time one gets to him, it’s always a big fight.”
Snyder has used his veto power to stop laws that loosen gun regulations in the past. He did, however, sign legislation that eliminated county gun boards that once reviewed CPL applications.
“People will often find out that it doesn’t matter whether you have an ‘R’ or a ‘D’ behind your name,” Lambert said.
Critics of the proposed legislation include the Michigan State Police and the Michigan Sheriff’s Association, citing public safety.
Charisse Mitchell, the CEO of YWCA West Central Michigan — an organization that provides services to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence — echoed their concerns.
“I think it just increases the risk unnecessarily,” Mitchell told 24 Hour News 8 Monday. “We know that having requirements for licenses is no guarantee that violence won’t occur — that a weapon won’t be used in a homicide — but we also know that not having those kinds of protections and security checks just increases the risk.”
Lambert disagreed and emphasized that nothing about the proposed legislation changes the background checks that are conducted before someone can legally own a pistol.
If the measure is passed by the House, it will go before the state Senate for approval before heading to Snyder’s desk. A representative for the governor said he had not yet taken a position on the bill.
“All of the arguing, all of the discussion is completely irrelevant,” Lambert said, “to the person who needs to defend themselves here and now.”