State Rep. Beau LaFave, of Iron Mountain, this week reintroduced a proposal to expand the rights of gun owners to transport their firearm while on private property.
“This important reform restores the lawful right of property owners to carry a gun on their own land in the manner they believe safe, and I am committed to protecting the Second Amendment rights of gun owners,” LaFave said. “The people of Michigan are entitled to their right to bear arms nowhere more especially than when they are on their own private property.”
Current law levies a fine of up to $500 or 90 days in jail for transporting or possessing a loaded firearm while riding a vehicle. LaFave’s plan, House Bill 4331, would permit the transport and possession of a loaded firearm in or upon a vehicle, so long as the activity takes place on private property. An identical plan was approved by a majority of members in the House of Representatives last year, but was not taken up by the Senate.
In 2018, the Legislature enacted a similar reform that would allow bows, crossbows, or slingshots.
“This proposal is a common-sense solution that does not impact public safety and protects gun owners from punishment for a personal choice made on private property,” LaFave said. “I’m proud to reintroduce legislation that is thoughtfully crafted to affirm personal property rights and protect otherwise law-abiding citizens from needless criminal prosecution.”
LaFave noted that Michigan farmers are among those adversely affected by current law.
“Sometimes a farmer is out managing their field and would like a varmint rifle with them to get rid of nuisance animals damaging their cropland,” LaFave said.
LaFave also introduced a separate plan that would allow the use of pneumatic airbows during certain hunting seasons for individuals with either a permanent or temporary disability. An airbow is similar to a crossbow, but uses compressed air to shoot the arrow. This type can be operated by an individual with only one arm, unlike bows and crossbows.
Licensed hunters with a disability that are unable to shoot a bow and crossbow would be allowed to get a permit to hunt with an airbow during bow season. All hunters who do not qualify for an airbow permit would be able to use a pneumatic airbow during firearm season.
“Citizens with both arms can take advantage of deer hunting for three full months, while disabled individuals are relegated to a mere 19 days,” LaFave said. “Current law has the Department of Natural Resources straight up discriminating against people with upper body or limb disabilities who want to hunt. Some people were tragically injured serving in our armed forces overseas in combat and want to hunt during bow season. But they can’t because current law is discriminating against them. No private business are allowed to discriminate against these individuals – or would even think of it—while the state is getting away with it. Conservation is an important part of our Michigan way of life and no individual should be cast out of the woods because of the DNR.”
The bill pertaining airbows was referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation. The bill regarding firearms was referred to the new House Committee on Military, Veteran Affairs and Homeland security, where LaFave is chairman.