In a close look at gun law reform legislation in Michigan, the Detroit Free Press concluded that the Wolverine State is part of a “national trend” leaning toward the relaxation of firearms regulations, citing the passage by that state’s House of Representatives a bill that will allow law-abiding citizens to carry concealed sidearms without a permit or training.
According to the newspaper, there are currently 616,508 valid concealed carry permits in circulation, representing about six percent of the state population.
Out in Washington, the state Department of Licensing reported at the end of May there were 584,305 active concealed pistol licenses and roughly 20 percent of them are held by women.
Down in Arizona, the Department of Public Safety reports 316,383 active carry permits, and that state is one of more than a dozen states identified by the Free Press as having some form of “constitutional carry,” that is, sidearms may be carried openly or concealed without a permit.
The newspaper said at least some Michigan law enforcement groups do not support the legislation. That measure has a long way to go before it would become law, but opponents are already raising the traditional red flags of “untrained civilians” being a danger to the community.
Michigan has seen a lot of change in its gun laws since the turn of the 21st Century. The newspaper story detailed those, including expanded access to concealed carry permits, passage of a “stand your ground” statute, State preemption that prevents local governments from adopting their own gun laws and elimination of county “gun boards.”
By no small coincidence, Michigan was one of a handful of states that had been taken for granted to throw its 16 Electoral College votes to Hillary Rodham Clinton last November. However, it became one of the states that went to Donald Trump, by a very tight margin, but close only counts in horse shoes.
Nationally-recognized researcher John Lott, Jr., president of the Crime Prevention Research Center, told the Free Press that the pattern in Michigan is similar to what has happened in other states where gun law reforms have been adopted. He explained that the process includes easier access to carry permits, reducing the number of so-called “gun-free zones,” and eventual elimination of training and licensing requirements.
The concept of “constitutional carry” was discussed in a chapter of gun rights leader Alan Gottlieb’s 2016 book “Right to Carry,” a joint effort with this reporter. Tim Schmidt, president of the U.S. Concealed Carry Association wrote the introduction.