By State Rep. Steven Johnson of Wayland
Today, more than ever – as big government and power-hungry politicians continue to jeopardize our most basic rights – it’s vital that Michigan residents are able to protect themselves and their families.
The right to “keep and bear arms” for self-defense is not a privilege afforded by local or state governments, but a Constitutional right. Yet Michigan laws force law-abiding citizens to ask for the government’s permission to possess a firearm.
For this reason, I have taken the initial steps to restore the original promise of the 2nd Amendment here in Michigan. My plan, House Bill 4770, is the leading legislation in a bipartisan package of bills to implement “constitutional carry” and give Michiganders back their right to carry concealed pistols without a government permit.
In addition to our U.S. constitutional rights, the Michigan Constitution is very clear that no governmental oversight or special permits are required to carry a firearm. That’s why my common-sense plan will repeal the requirement to obtain a license to carry a concealed pistol for individuals who are not otherwise prohibited from possessing a pistol – ensuring all law-abiding citizens are not restricted or unreasonably prosecuted for carrying a pistol for the protection of themselves and their loved ones.
Current law is simply irrational. People can already legally carry a gun openly on their hip if they are older than 18. However, putting on a coat that covers the firearm– especially during Michigan’s harsh winters – puts them at risk of a felony.
It makes no sense to me that responsible gun owners can carry openly without a permit, but they have to pay to purchase a permit before they can legally put a coat on over their guns. This “coat tax” – only creates a fine on Michigan residents exercising their 2nd Amendment right, and would be eliminated under the legislation.
Concealed firearms laws only affect honest, responsible gun owners. Criminals certainly are not worried about obtaining a government-issued permit before they go out and commit a crime. It is time we level the playing field for lawful people who want nothing more than a means of protection.
The existing prohibitions on using firearms unlawfully and carrying a firearm while committing or attempting to commit a felony will remain unchanged. The plan would keep the current permitting structure in place for interstate reciprocity so that Michigan CPL holders can continue to carry in states that recognize Michigan’s permit.
Anti-gun zealots claim the legislation will result in increased gun violence and fewer people trained in proper gun handling. However, there is little to no evidence suggesting gun control measures have helped reduce violent crimes. States that have already eliminated the CPL requirement actually have seen an increase in consumer demand for firearm safety and training.
If the legislation is adopted, Michigan would join a growing list of 15 states that have passed similar laws protecting constitutional carry.
I am proud to be part of the legislative efforts alongside grassroots groups across the state who are working to preserve our 2nd Amendment rights here in Michigan. I will continue working diligently throughout the entire deliberative process to ensure the promised liberties of every Michigander are rightfully restored.