Michigan state representatives Michele Hoitenga, Pamela Hornberger, Sue Allor, and Triston Cole have sponsored a 4-bill legislative package, the most controversial of which is HB 4416, which would allow Michigan residents to carry a concealed firearm without obtaining a license. This bill drew a large crowd at the House Judiciary Committee meeting on Tuesday.
According to Hoitenga, a Republican from Manton, “It is currently legal in the state of Michigan for a law-abiding person to openly carry a firearm on their person without any training classes, fees, or state bureaucracy. It only becomes legal when a person puts on a coat, because the gun then becomes concealed. One millimeter of clothing makes the difference between a criminal act and a legal act.”
Hoitenga said the new law would enable some residents of the state to lawfully carry a gun, without the added burden of state fees and classes. Some of these people include: “Women, elderly, vulnerable and economically disadvantaged people should not be excluded from concealed carry because they can’t afford the fees associated with the permit process.”
Residents showed up to voice their own opinion about the 4-bill package. Supporters claim the new concealed carry regulations would help people who make a mistake while transporting their firearms and who under the existing law may end up with a felony charge.
The opposition says the new law would become a risk to public safety and were concerned that people who are currently prohibited from obtaining a CPL (concealed pistol license), such as those with a personal protection order against them, from legally carrying concealed without the license.
Democrat Tim Griemel of Auburn Hills is concerned that punishment for those who do not disclose they’re carrying concealed during a traffic stop could be removed from state law under the new bills.
Fraternal order of Police member David Hiller says the organization opposes the proposed changes because it “basically allows anyone to go out, purchase a handgun, and carry it concealed.”
But Tom Lambert, representative of the group Michigan Open Carry, reiterates that the new law wouldn’t change anything about who can own a firearm or where they would be allowed to carry it. This means no one would be allowed to carry a firearm into a federal building, on school property, sports arena, or places that serve alcohol. The legislation is only meant to improve upon the current carry regulations. “It allows people to carry in the manner they choose that’s best for their specific situation,” Lambert said.
Currently, HB-4416 is not up for a vote, but House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Runestad, a Republican from White Lake, expects to hold another hearing at some point next week.
Michigan State Constitutional Provision, Article 1, Section 6 clearly states, “Every person has a right to keep and bear arms for the defense of himself and the state.” (NRA-ILA) Currently, Michigan law requires a purchase permit before buying a handgun (if buying from a private individual), a registration of said handgun, and a permit to carry concealed.