It’s time to lay out why SB 442 is NOT the pro-gun bill some have made it out to be and why nearly every gun group at the state and national levels is opposing the bill. While the bill would allow Michigan CPL holders to concealed carry (CC) in the now Concealed Pistol Free Zones (CPFZs), what it gives in return, how the bill does this, and how the bill is being sold by its proponents are causing many to strongly object.
It Bans Open Carry - The biggest issue with 442 is that it bans Open Carry (OC) in the CPFZs. This is something the state’s most fervent anti-gun legislators have been trying to do for years and now it seems there is someone willing to acquiesce. These opponents of freedom understand that the only thing more dangerous to their cause than a natural, civil, and Constitutionally backed right is the free and public exercise of that right. By pushing gun owners back into the closet they are able to further their sick mantra unchecked that gun owners are scary and dangerous people whose rights only serve as a detriment to the public. Setting a precedent that guns are too scary to be seen is a mistake that will forever haunt us.
If You Think Current Laws Are Confusing, Just Wait - Not only does 442 ban OC, it attempts to do it in a ridiculous manner. 442 amends a portion of the Firearms and Ammunition Act that deals only with CPL holders carrying concealed in specific zones. While many of these zones require a CPL to possess a firearm in in the first place, not all do, thus making OC without a CPL legal. If Senator Green were to succeed in banning Open Carry in these zones for CPL holders we would end up with a situation where OC would be legal until the person gets a CPL. Thus, law-enforcement would be able to detain to make sure the carrier is NOT licensed. In case that left you confused I’ll sum it up this way. OC without license = legal. OC with license = illegal. It doesn’t make sense, but yes that is how it would work.
From Legal to Felony - If you are convicted of breaking the OC ban, the punishments would be as follows: 1st - $500 fine and 6 month license suspension. 2nd - $1,000 fine, 90 day misdemeanor and license revoked. 3rd - $5,000 fine, 4 year felony and license revoked along with ANY ability to own a firearm again. All for doing something that is perfectly legal right now.
Nonresidents Are Screwed - The problems don’t end there. While CC would be legalized, it would only happen after CPL holders apply for, pay for, and are granted an exemption. While the exemption is shall issue, it would only be available to people with a Michigan license and Michigan does not grant licenses to nonresidents. While Michigan residents would still have a legal form of carry, with the added exemption, nonresidents would have zero legal forms left to them.
Insufficient Protection For Printing - While the bill attempts to provide protection for accidental exposure, many have suggested the language is far from adequate. The bill tries to target “intentional display” and “open carry” but does not define them or address “printing”. Even the main organization backing the bill admitted at one point the language should be improved. There are far too many horror stories of anti-gun police and prosecutors using gray areas in our laws to attack gun owners. Even if these people are eventually acquitted, the damage is already done. Pro-gun bills should protect gun owners, not create more loopholes for them to be attacked.
Questionable Tactics - More shocking than the contents of the bill are the tactics being used to support it. As much as it pains me to say it, as the gun community’s opposition has grown so too has the backlash from the seemingly sole group supporting SB 442. While a generally well known pro-gun group in the state, as of late they have engaged in tactics more indicative of one funded by Bloomberg. Dozens of gun owners have been summarily blocked for merely expressing opposition to 442 or less. Those who disagree with 442 or at least want more from the bill have been labeled “extremists” compared to the group’s “compromise”. The bill’s sponsor (Mike Green) and primary cosponsor (Arlan Meekhof), who also happen to be on the group’s board, have made public comments about “closing loopholes” and Open Carry being like “shouting ‘fire’ in a crowded theater", among many others. The group itself has even promoted a message about it not being "in the public interest [...] to advertise our rights." Folks, those who truly seek to support and defend rights do not compare the exercise of those rights to attempts to intentionally harm of others. While the group’s stated goal of more people carrying in more places is admirable, many of their leaders seem to be more concerned lately with the targeting of other gun owners.
While the above list is not exaustive, it should give readers a general idea of why so many are opposing SB 442. For the stated reasons above and more, SB 442 should be and is being opposed by the gun community. We hope you will join us.
What's The Alternative - We've laid out what we shouldn't be doing, so let's talk now about what we should be doing. Instead of one group going it alone and trying to shove a bad bill down everyone's throat, we should all be working together. There are many bills that would scale back or repeal pistol registration like HB 4675. HB 4795 would help enforce preemption and protect gun owners from local units of government. Both bills are needed reguardless of SB 442 and both bills have been publicly supported by Michigan's gun groups. We at MOC look forward to when the community can come back together and work as a united front again.
If you have any questions or concerns about SB 442, please email firstname.lastname@example.org