A Michigan bill that would drop the need to get a special license or permit to legally carry a concealed firearm passed a key committee vote this week.
State House Bill 4770 passed out of the House Military, Veterans and Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday. The measure makes a host of changes to Michigan’s weapon laws, the most polarizing of which is to repeal the requirement to have a license to carry a concealed handgun for those not otherwise prohibited from possessing one.
“It’s time we end the restrictions put on those asserting their God-given right to self-defense,” said the bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Steve Johnson, R-Wayland. “Constitutional Carry will reduce barriers to our most vulnerable populations and ensure they have the ability to protect themselves and their families.”
Michigan currently requires training, a background check with fingerprints and a $100 application and licensing fee to obtain a concealed pistol license (CPL), a process that can take weeks. The state had 660,920 active CPLs as of August according to statistics from the Crime Prevention Research Center.
Johnson’s measure would remove the requirement to get a CPL but still allow those who want such a license to obtain one, which would still be useful for reciprocal purposes. It would also protect legal carry in places where either open carry or concealed pistol license holders are already currently allowed.
“This legislation simply allows law-abiding citizens to exercise their Second Amendment rights,” Johnson said. “Protecting yourself should not be a criminal activity.”
Gun control advocates were dismayed at the HB 4770’s progress, with Bloomberg-backed Moms Demand Action saying it was “dangerous legislation.”
The bill would still have to clear a floor vote in the House, pass through the Senate and be signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, to become law. Nonetheless, if HB 4770 is successful, Michigan would join the growing ranks of states that recognize permitless carry. So far in 2019, Kansas, Oklahoma and South Dakota have all passed legislation to codify carry without a permit.