Michigan’s Constitutional Carry bill passed a crucial committee vote on Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019. State House Bill 4770 made its way out of the House Military, Veterans and Homeland Security Committee. HB 4770 would repeal the mandate requiring a concealed carry permit for lawful citizens.
“It’s time we end the restrictions put on those asserting their God-given right to self-defense,” declared the bill’s sponsor, State Representative Steve Johnson. “Constitutional Carry will reduce barriers to our most vulnerable populations and ensure they have the ability to protect themselves and their families.”
Michigan’s licensing requirements are somewhat stiff. The website Gun.com notes that the state “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.” Statistics from the Crime Prevention Research Center show that over half a million CPLs are active in the state.
Although this Constitutional Carry bill would remove the licensing requirement, it would still keep licenses for reciprocity purposes. Truth be told, most states haven’t fully caught on to constitutional carry. Many gun owners who travel across the country are deprived of their right to carry when they enter anti-gun states. California, for example, doesn’t honor any other states’ carry permits. So keeping this aspect of licensing intact is a pragmatic compromise for gun owners who like to travel. Ideally, the entire U.S. would be a constitutional carry zone and no one would have to have a government permission slip to carry a firearm. But this is the hand we’ve been dealt.
Constitutional carry is the natural progression of multiple decades of gun rights reforms. Although the licensed concealed carry movement served its purpose of liberalizing gun laws during the 1980s and onward, activist energy can now be focused on more pro-freedom legislation such as constitutional carry.
2019 has been a surprising year for constitutional carry. Kentucky, Oklahoma, and South Dakota passed their own bills to restore the right to carry. Ohio is joining Michigan by trying to pass constitutional carry as well.
With a Democratic Governor and a Republican-controlled House and Senate, getting constitutional carry passed in Michigan will be an uphill struggle. No matter the outcome of the 2019 legislative session, the introduction of constitutional carry is necessary for getting the conversation started.