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Michigan Moms Take Aim at "Permitless Carry" Gun Bills

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Michigan lawmakers are considering legislation that would allow concealed carry of firearms in public places without a permit. (mconnors/morguefile)
Michigan lawmakers are considering legislation that would allow concealed carry of firearms in public places without a permit. (mconnors/morguefile)
 By Mona Shand, Public News Service - MI, Contact
March 8, 2017

LANSING, Mich. – Today is International Women's Day, and one group of Michigan women is marking the occasion by taking aim at what they believe would be a dangerous change to the state's gun laws.

Two bills in the House would make Michigan the seventh state in the nation to allow people to carry concealed weapons in public places without a permit.

Emily Durbin, a volunteer chapter leader with the Michigan chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, says if those bills pass, a person could carry a concealed weapon without background checks or the current eight-hour training for gun safety, live fire, and gun laws.

"All of those safeguards would be eliminated, and we think that's not smart," she said. "We think we have a permitting system in place for a very good reason, and that we think that would be a hazard to public safety if that gets dismantled."

The Republican lawmakers who introduced the bills call Michigan's current permitting system "government overreach." The Moms Demand Action group meets with lawmakers today.

Durbin says they're also concerned that the proposed changes would allow some people to carry concealed weapons who aren't currently allowed to carry firearms at all, including those convicted of past violent offenses.

Supporters of so-called "constitutional carry" laws believe the permitting process places an undue burden on those who want to defend themselves. In eliminating gun-safety training, they often compare the situation to people who have car accidents despite taking driver's training courses. Durbin disagrees.

"As we allow more and more people who don't have a good understanding of responsible gun ownership not only to own guns but to carry them concealed in public, we can anticipate that there will likely be more problematic consequences," she explained.

State officials saw an uptick last year in applications for concealed gun licenses after legislation was passed to speed up the time it takes to get a permit and to eliminate the three-member county boards that approved or denied permits. That work is now done by county clerks, with State Police conducting background checks on applicants.

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