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Michigan: Governor Snyder Vetoes NRA’s Concealed Pistol Reform Bill

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Michigan: Governor Snyder Vetoes NRA’s Concealed Pistol Reform Bill

Today, in an extremely disappointing move, Governor Rick Snyder (R) vetoed NRA’s hard-fought concealed pistol licensing reform bill, Senate Bill 789.  This veto is based on fallacies and a basic misunderstanding of the law.  In justifying the veto, Governor Snyder incorrectly expressed a concern that SB 789 might place victims of domestic violence at increased risk.  Aside from the fact that anti-gun and domestic violence organizations had almost a year to express this concern and failed to do so, this concern is patently false.

Simply put, if an individual is a domestic-abuser and has been charged or convicted as such, or a judge has made a determination that the individual should not be allowed to purchase or possess a firearm, that person would be prohibited from receiving a concealed pistol license under SB 789.  No exceptions.

Under Michigan law, an individual can petition the court for a personal protection order (PPO) if they can show “reasonable cause” that the subject of the PPO might engage in conduct that “imposes upon or interferes with [their] personal liberty.”  In order to receive a PPO, it is not necessary to show that a crime has been committed, nor does it require that the subject of the PPO be notified or given an opportunity to present a defense.  In fact, there are several common instances in which PPOs are granted when there has been no threat of violence or claim of reasonable apprehension of violence.

If circumstances indicate that a threat of violence exists, the individual seeking a PPO must only show reasonable cause that the circumstance does exist and check the box requesting that the judge to issue an order also prohibit an individual from “purchasing or possessing a firearm.”  In fact, in nearly every instance in which a claim of violence or threat of violence is alleged, the judge will ask the petitioner whether the subject of the order might own or possess a firearm.  If there is reasonable cause to believe that the individual may use a firearm to harm the petitioner, the judge will notify the petitioner that they can also request that the subject of the order be prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm for the duration of the order.  At that point, the individual will automatically be prohibited from obtaining a concealed pistol license for the duration of the order.

Furthermore, if a hearing is held where the subject of the PPO is provided with notice and an opportunity to present a defense and the judge makes a determination that the PPO was validly issued, federal law will automatically preclude the subject of the order from purchasing and possessing a firearm.

The NRA is also disappointed that the anti-gun organizations that opposed the bill purposely omitted the fact that SB 789 was written to provide enhanced protections for victims of domestic violence.  Under the proposed law, an individual who petitions the court system for a PPO automatically qualifies for a temporary, emergency concealed pistol license.  The NRA advocated for this provision and supports it based on the belief that victims of these heinous acts should be able to avail themselves of all legal methods to ensure their personal safety and the safety of threatened family members.

Further evidence that Governor Snyder's veto is without merit is the fact that SB 789 proceeded through the legislative process for nearly a year without organized opposition.  The bill was posted for public consumption.  Hearings were held to allow for public testimony.  Stakeholder concerns were voiced and their opinions were addressed.  It was not until SB 789 had passed the legislature and was sitting on Governor Snyder’s desk that groups began attacking this legislation based on misinformation about its content.  If there was a clear and present issue with SB 789, opposition groups could have raised them during this period and submitted them for organized debate; affording the supporters of the bill an opportunity to publicly set the record straight.

Unfortunately, because of the tactics from out-of-state anti-gun groups, the opportunity for Michiganders to have a true “shall issue” concealed pistol licensing process has been unnecessarily denied.  However, NRA will work to ensure immediate reintroduction of the bill in the hopes that it once again passes through the state legislature and returns to Governor Snyder’s desk.  Please once again contact your state legislators and express your support for the elimination of concealed pistol licensing boards, and for creating a more efficient and uniform concealed pistol licensing process in Michigan.

Please also let Governor Synder know that you do not appreciate him caving to pressure from out-of-state anti-gun groups interfering with the rights of the 450,000 concealed pistol license holders in Michigan.  Contact Governor Snyder and express your disappointment today.

Contact Governor Snyder

Let Governor Snyder know your disappointment in his veto of SB 789.

517-373-3400

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