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Michigan: House Passes Multiple NRA-supported Pro-Second Amendment Bills Yesterday

Friday, March 14, 2014

Yesterday, the Firearms Records Confidentiality Package, consisting of House Bill 4155House Bill 5324House Bill 5325House Bill 5326House Bill 5327 and House Bill 5328, passed overwhelmingly in the Michigan House of Representatives.  These bills will now be sent to the state Senate for its consideration.

HB 4155, sponsored by state Representative Aric Nesbitt (R-66), passed by an 81-28 vote.
HB 5324, sponsored by state Representative Nancy Jenkins (R-57), passed by an 88-21 vote.
HB 5325, sponsored by state Representative Hugh Crawford (R-38), passed by an 89-20 vote.
HB 5326, sponsored by state Representative Ed McBroom (R-108), passed by an 87-22 vote.
HB 5327, sponsored by state Representative Bruce Rendon (R-103), passed by an 82-27 vote.
HB 5328, sponsored by state Representative Kevin Cotter (R-99), passed by an 89-20 vote.

Collectively, these bills provide that information submitted to the government for purposes of firearms licensing, registration, and concealed carry permitting is confidential and not subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.  These bills also ensure that the only accepted disclosure of the information contained in an individual’s firearms records is limited to times when law enforcement has reasonable suspicion to believe that: (1) the firearm was used in the commission of a crime; (2) that the individual whose record is being accessed has committed a crime or is threat to himself, herself or other individuals; or (3) when the safety of the peace officer is at issue.  These clarifications make firearms records subject to similar constitutional search protections afforded by the Fourth Amendment.

Four other pro-gun bills passed in the state House of Representatives yesterday:

Senate Bill 610, sponsored by state Senator Michael Green (R-31), passed by a 103-6 vote.  SB 610 would repeal Michigan’s ban on the private ownership of short-barreled rifles and shotguns.  Short-barreled rifles and shotguns are already strictly regulated under the National Firearms Act, requiring their buyers to undergo a background check, pay a $200 federal tax and register these firearms with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  SB 610, which passed in the Michigan Senate by a 36-2 vote on November 14, would conform Michigan law to federal law and align Michigan with a significant majority of states that already allow their residents to lawfully possess these firearms.  An NRA-supported amendment was made to SB 610 in the House Judiciary Committee and, as a result, this legislation must now return to the state Senate for its concurrence.

House Bill 5085, sponsored by state Representative Phil Potvin (R-102), passed by a 107-2 vote.  HB 5085 would reasonably expand the class of individuals who are allowed to supervise and instruct Michigan’s youth in the safe use of pistols.  Under current Michigan law, an individual under the age of 18 is prohibited from possessing a pistol “for the purposes of target practice or instruction in the safe use,” unless the “person’s parent or guardian is physically present and supervising the person.”  As a result, responsible family members, close friends, range instructors and youth organizations—such as the Boy Scouts of America—are all effectively precluded from supervising and instructing in the safe use of a pistol in a controlled environment.

HB 5085 would amend current law to allow some of the above classes of individuals to provide pistol training and safety instruction to Michigan’s youth, while also ensuring that supervision is undertaken by a responsible adult who is trained in the safe use of a pistol.  This legislation accomplishes this by providing that an individual who is 21 years or older, and has successfully completed a state certified pistol training course, may supervise and provide instruction on the safe use of a pistol at a target range.  An amendment was adopted to HB 5085 that requires the supervising individual to also receive parental authorization.

House Bill 5091, sponsored by state Representative Joel Johnson (R-97), passed by a 104-5 vote and House Bill 5092, sponsored by state Representative Brandon Dillon (D-75), passed by a 105-4 vote.  These bills provide much-needed clarification for what it means to “brandish” a weapon under Michigan law.  If these bills were enacted, an individual could only be found guilty of “brandishing” a weapon if they “willfully and knowingly . . . . point, wave about, or display [a weapon] in a threatening manner with the intent to induce fear in another individual.”  These bills provide necessary protection from potential law enforcement harassment and prosecution for exercising their right to possess a firearm in public.

All of these important pro-gun bills will now be sent to the state Senate for its consideration.  Please contact your state Senator in support of these critical pro-gun reforms.  Click here to find your state Senator.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.