Each new year means law-abiding gun owners in Michigan need to be on the lookout for the latest assault on the Second Amendment. You may have seen discussions about bills that could affect your gun and self-defense rights. Here is a preview of some bills and issues that have been filed and raised (so far) that are noteworthy. However, please keep in mind that all the bills and resolutions listed below are currently proposals and not law.
2020 Legislative Activity for Firearms in Michigan
No new gun laws were signed into law by Governor Whitmer in 2020. Instead, much of the legislative activity involving firearms in 2020 was in direct response to the Governor’s continued and unchecked declaration of a State of Emergency and her use of executive orders during this declaration. Here is a quick summary of the various proposed limitations of the Governor’s emergency powers:
- SB 859 – Guns could not be confiscated, nor their purchase banned.
- SB 1219 – County clerks are still required to issue CPLs, and county clerks and law enforcement agencies are still required to provide fingerprint services, during declared local states of emergency.
- HB 5706 – Firearms could not be seized nor may their purchase or the purchase of ammunition be banned during declared states of emergency.
- HB 5866 – County clerks would be required to issue temporary CPL(s) during declared states of emergency if permits were not being processed as a result, provided a person has completed the required pistol training course, applied for the license, and paid the fee, good for up to 90 days.
- HB 6135 – The validity of pistol training or safety program certificates of completion expiring during a declared state of emergency would be extended for a period equal to the total number of days of the declared state of emergency.
Other Proposed Amendments to Existing Concealed Carry Laws Include:
- HB 5433 – Houses of worship would be removed from the other prohibited places (thus allowing the carry of a concealed handgun) set forth in MCL 28.425o.
- HB 5784 – Buildings owned or leased by the State of Michigan would be added to the prohibited places set forth in MCL 28.425o.
Several New Crimes Proposed:
- SB 953 – Would create a new crime, a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days and a fine of up to $500 applicable to retail gun sellers, for failure to deliver a written warning at the time of sale, or failure to post signs notifying gun purchasers of their storage requirements, under this law (if passed) requiring gun owners who “know or reasonably should know” that their firearms could be accessible to a minor, must keep the firearm in a securely locked box in a location that a reasonable person would believe is secure. A person who violates this section where a gun is obtained by a minor and used to inflict serious injury or death is punishable by up to five years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine. If the weapon is merely exhibited by a minor in a public place either carelessly or threateningly in the presence of another, the owner may be guilty of a 93-day misdemeanor and up to a $500 fine.
- SB 1065 – Amends MCL 750.223 and makes it a 15-year felony and up to a $50,000 fine to knowingly participate in a straw man purchase of firearms. Also, if said weapon is used to commit a crime, depending on the seriousness of that crime, the seller is also guilty of either a 1-year misdemeanor or up to a 20-year felony and a fine of up to $20,000.
One New Proposed Administrative Requirement:
- SB 1059 – The appropriate licensing authority and law enforcement agency would both be required to provide the purchaser of a firearm with a receipt indicating that the purchaser returned a copy of their license to the appropriate licensing authority and law enforcement agency as required by MCL 28.422 & 422a.
Federal Proposals on the Horizon
Last session, the 116th U.S. Congress proposed assault weapons bans, red flag orders, mandatory reporting of NICS denials to law enforcement, and countless other anti-2A legislation. All of these individual proposals were awful, but none were worse than the omnibus HR 5717 (Gun Violence Prevention and Community Safety Act of 2020), which would have incorporated the worst provisions of each of these proposals. If you want a preview of what anti-gun bills filed during the 117th Congress could look like, pay attention to HR 5717. The 117th Congress was sworn in on January 3, 2021, and their term ends on January 3, 2023. To learn about how federal law is made, check out The Legislative Process by the United States House of Representatives, and stay tuned. We are keeping a close watch for bills and resolutions that would affect Second Amendment rights.
For more information about 2021 legislation that could impact your rights as a law-abiding gun owner, contact U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.
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