Will Michigan Become a Constitutional Carry State?
Below is an article I wrote for the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network ("Network"). The Network is a group that is pro-second amendment, and pro-self defense education. They offer membership which provide legal representation in the aftermath of self defense shootings and educational videos on self defense laws and tactics.
Topic: Permitless carry / Constitutional Carry
Questions from the Network are in bold. My answers are normal font.
Do you wish your state would allow permitless carry? Why or why not?
Yes. I do wish our state allowed permitless carry. (1) Then it would be in line with the 2nd Amendment of the Const. and as the founders of this country intended free citizens to be able to carry firearms for the defense of their families. Further explanation is really unnecessary past this document as it is the supreme law of the land. (2) Having permitless carry would alleviate every county from having to take the time to process hundreds of Concealed Pistol Licenses (“CPLs”) every year, thus reducing the amount of taxpayer dollars they use to complete such tasks. Fund could then be used for completing other needed services. (3) Permitless carry does pose some legal issues here in Michigan discussed below.
What advantages, if any, do your armed clients have because they have a carry permit? If your state passed a permitless carry law, would you suggest armed citizens in your state let their permits expire or continue to renew their permits?
Advantages to Permitless carry include: Residents not having to take an 8 hour long Concealed Carry Class. Not having to pay the county licensing fee to apply for the CPL.
Advantages to residents with CPL’s include: Carry outside of the state, carry into restricted firearms free zones, and ability to carry other residents’ pistols.
Issue #1 with permitless carry: Out of State Travel
This may surprise some, but I think Michigan should still issue CPLs to those who want one. Some of these reasons are as follows. First, it gives a Michigan resident the ability to travel to other states and carry their pistol because the other state recognizes a Michigan CPL holder’s license. Otherwise, if a Michigan was strictly a Constitutional Carry State (“CCS”), it may not allow for a Michigander to carry their pistol into another state because various states do not allow non-residents to carry a pistol unless the non-resident has a permit from their home state.
Issue #2 with permitless carry: Pistol Free Properties
Second, having a CPL in Michigan allows the CPL holder to carry a pistol into certain buildings or onto certain properties that otherwise firearms cannot be brought onto. For example, Michigan law prohibits pistols in theatres, banks and any business with a liquor license, which include most gas stations, grocery stores, drug stores and restaurants. However, the law allows for someone with a CPL to carry a pistol into these restrictive places.
If Michigan were strictly a CCS (permitless state), I think the restrictive places that prohibit pistols would become a burden to a pistol carrying residents who want to cash a check, buy a loaf of bread or fuel up their vehicle. With these types of laws on the books, my opinion is that CCS may reduce the amount of people that would carry day to day simply because of the restrictive laws. This is the second reason why I would say Michiganders should continue to keep a current CPL even if Michigan turns into a permitless state.
Issue #3 with permitless carry: Pistol Registration
Without a CPL, a Michigan resident who wishes to carry a pistol or possess a pistol, must own the pistol. Under Michigan law, in order to possess in your home, transport a pistol or carry a pistol it must be registered to you. In other words, you must be “on paper” as the owner of the pistol. The exception to this law is, you guessed it, by possessing a valid CPL. A CPL holder has the option of carrying a pistol that is owned by or registered to a family member or friend. So if the state went to permitless carry, residents would be limited to carry only pistols registered to them.
Will Michigan Become a Permitless Carry State?
Do I think Michigan will ever become a Constitutional Carry State? No, I do not. First, we have a lot of restrictive firearm laws on the books here in the state. A small glimpse is discussed above with banks and businesses with liquor licenses. and we haven’t even talked about the restrictions on carrying in a vehicle, on school property, day care centers, and the open carry exceptions with a CPL.
The second reason I don’t think Michigan will become a CCS is the state makes a lot of money on CPL applications. In Michigan a county charges between $10 to $115 per application. In 2017-2018 Michigan grossed over 8.5 million dollars on new CPL applications alone. In 2019-2020, Michigan grossed over 11.2 million dollars and in 2020-2021 the gross was over 13.4 million dollars. The state of Michigan would be taking a loss to cut out such a high money making service they provide.
The last reason I don’t think Michigan will become a CCS is that the legislature and governor rarely agree on anything pro-second amendment. In 2020, via executive order, the governor and her attorney general attempted to ban the carrying of pistols at the voting polls. Collectively, several of us pro-gun attorneys were able to file a successful restraining order to prevent such a ban. Even if the legislature receives the votes needed to pass permitless carry, the current governor would let the bill die on her desk.
If the Michigan legislature was going to pass permitless carry into law, I would recommend Michiganders let their licenses lapse if the restrictive pistol laws were repealed. In my opinion the repeal of the restrictive laws seems very unlikely and thus I do NOT think it wise for Michiganders let their CPLs lapse.
Respectfully & For Freedom.
MCL 28.422 Sec 2
Michigan Concealed Pistol License Act