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Concealed Carry Renewal Error Might Not Make You a Felon in Michigan Anymore

Gun owners have to be meticulous. Small errors and oversights can lead to felony convictions. Gun owners must know the law and must be careful to abide by every minute provision of they could wind up in jail.

State Representative Matt Hall of Emmett Township introduced a bill earlier this month to reduce the penalty for carrying a concealed firearm with an expired CPL.  Last week, the Michigan House passed the bill. 

According to the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, the bill was passed 90-19. For those who don’t know, the GOP only has a slim majority in the Michigan House so this bill was passed with broad bipartisan support.  

MLive reported some of the details regarding the bill and made sure to note opposing views. 

House Bill 4434, introduced by Rep. Matt Hall, R-Emmett Township, would reduce the penalty for carrying a concealed pistol on an expired license from a felony to a civil fine, if the license expired within the year.

Hall presented the bill as “common-sense” criminal justice reform.

“If this is the only reason you’re a felon, because you forgot to renew (the license), I don’t think that punishment is proportional to the offense,” he said.

Michigan State Police legislative liaison Sgt. Chris Gerard testified against the bill on the grounds that it would make penalties for certain driving offenses more strict than a weapons violation.

“That’s kind of a drastic change,” he said. “People can’t get lazy with something that has the potential to possibly kills somebody. It’s more important to make sure that we’re understanding this is something we take very seriously.”

Gerard said citizens are notified months before their license expires, and renewing the license takes a quick visit to the county clerk’s office.

The NRA added specifics,

[the bill] reduces the offense of carrying a handgun on an expired CPL from a felony under current law to a civil fine of $330 as long as it’s within one year of expiration and the person is still legally eligible for a CPL.  Permanently stripping Second Amendment rights from an otherwise law-abiding citizen who forgets to renew their CPL does not improve public safety.

I am inclined to disagree with the State Police on this one.  With states moving away from requiring concealed carry licenses and with the Michigan House introducing another bill to get rid of the CPL all together, it seems pointless to resist the move. 

It is also extremely problematic to restrict a constitutional right indefinitely for a paperwork offense, as the NRA noted.  

But it is to be expected.  States and the federal government have a history of over-criminalizing minute firearm related offenses while under-criminalizing the ones that might actually lead to serious harm or increased violence. 

Did you know that if you put a fore grip on a pistol, you’ve committed a felony

ATF has long held that by installing a vertical fore grip on a handgun, the handgun is no longer designed to be held and fired by the use of a single hand. Therefore, if individuals install a vertical fore grip on a handgun, they are “making” a firearm requiring registration with ATF’s NFA Branch. Making an unregistered “AOW” is punishable by a fine and 10 years’ imprisonment. Additionally, possession of an unregistered “AOW” is also punishable by fine and 10 years’ imprisonment.

Obviously, the nation is overrun by criminals who add fore grips on pistols, which changes how the pistol was design to be fired. Instead of using two hands to hold the pistol grip, they now use one hand at the back and one at the front. The horror!

Similarly, the state of Michigan must be overrun by otherwise law-abiding firearm owners who didn’t fill out the right paperwork in time. 

Wise government measures balance public safety with the goal of staying out of the lives of citizens.  This bill removes the heavy hand of government from those who wish to exercise a constitutional right.

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