Michigan GOP lawmakers introduce constitutional carry bills

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A legislation that would allow law-abiding citizens to carry concealed weapons for self-protection without having a government-issued permit to do so was introduced to the House.

House Bills 5301-5304 were introduced by state Reps. Tom Barrett, R-Potterville; Lee Chatfield, R-Levering; Triston Cole, R-Mancelona; and Jim Runestad, R-White Lake on Tuesday.

The bill sponsors say the legislation allows more freedom for responsible citizens who want to carry a concealed weapon for self-defense, according to the Michigan GOP.

"We are required to take a driver's test occasionally to get or maintain our driver's licenses, but tens of thousands of people are killed in traffic accidents every year, regardless of having passed a state-sanctioned training course and paying to obtain a license," Rep. Runestad said. "Bureaucracy and fees do not make people better drivers. Requiring a special permit to carry a concealed weapon just forces inefficient spending and inconveniences responsible gun owners," said Rep. Runestad, sponsor of HB 5303.

Penalties for the unlawful possession of a firearm will remain in place, and people who are currently not legally allowed to carry a firearm will not legally be able to carry a concealed weapon, Michigan GOP say.

"This is common-sense legislation to give lawful gun owners another option for self-defense," said Rep. Chatfield, who introduced HB 5301. "People who desire a permit to carry a concealed weapon, perhaps because it is necessary to carry a concealed pistol in another state, could still take the necessary training and obtain a permit. A license to carry just would not be required in Michigan."

"These bills simply place into law the Second Amendment rights of Michigan residents to bear arms without asking the government's permission to do so," Rep. Barrett said, sponsor of HB 5302. "The current concealed weapons permit amounts to nothing more than a state tax on a freedom guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution."

Rep. Cole, who wrote HB 5304, said the current permit requirement in Michigan is a government over-reach that places a burden on residents who want to defend themselves against criminals.

"Criminals don't have to go through a training class and wait for government permission to have a handgun before they commit armed robbery, yet a law-abiding citizen who simply wants the option of self-defense has to jump through all the hoops and pay a price to carry a concealed weapon," Rep. Cole said. "People who want to ensure the safety of their families against the criminal element should not have to beg for that right."