Michigan gun boards one step closer to chopping block

Gun shop owner getting revolver ready for purchase.

Michigan Senate Bill 789 has passed the Senate and is on its way through the Michigan House of Representatives. If it is signed into law, gun owners in Michigan will no longer have to meet with county gun boards.

The new bill would require county clerks to process applications. Michigan State Police would take charge of background investigations, which are currently overseen by county gun boards.

Cheboygan County Sheriff Dale Clarmont understands why the state wants to streamline the process, but is reluctant to get rid of gun boards.

"I believe that in streamlining the process there's going to be some drawbacks," said Clarmont. "The drawback is, we're not going to have that one-on-one with our applicants to kind of explain the law to them."

Gun boards usually consist of personnel from the County Clerk's Office, Michigan State Police, County Prosecutor and the Sheriff or the Undersheriff.

Gun owners like Jerry Vantrese, owner of Two Knives gun store in Petoskey, believes the gun boards serve a purpose.

"The thing that's important is the background checks are as thorough as possible," said Vantreese. "That would still be done even though we wouldn't have the little face-to-face scenario."

If SB 789 makes it past the house, the bill will only need the governor's signature to go into effect.

"The law is ever-changing and ever-evolving," said Clarmont. "One of the things we tell the applicants at the gun board is that if you have a question call us. Because you can get in to some serious trouble if you violate the law."

Michigan is the only state that requires gun boards to obtain a conceal and carry permit.