Monday, December 5, 2011

Michigan prosecutors join other groups opposing concealed weapons bill

(MLive) Michigan prosecutors are also opposing a bill that would allow people to apply for concealed handgun permits outside their home counties.

The measure, to be taken up at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing this week, is intended to help permit seekers in counties that are slow in processing licenses or impose requirements that make it more difficult.

Larry Burdick, president of the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan, echoed concerns being raised by other groups, including the Michigan Sheriffs' Association. The prosecutors' group is sending a letter to senators outlining concerns.

"It's going to create a burden on those counties that are acting fairly expeditiously with processing gun permits," said Burdick, Isabella County's prosecutor. That becomes especially troublesome in determining eligibility, he added. 

Electronic background checks - such as the state's Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN) - are not sufficient alone, Burdick said. Knowledge of local police and courts is essential, he noted.

"LEIN is not going to tell me whether someone had a personal protection order taken out against them two years ago. It's not going to tell me if someone was involuntarily hospitalized. It's not going to tell me if a person has a history of getting into arguments with neighbors," he said.

"If we begin getting applications from folks that live outside the county, it will be a lot more difficult to do that."

Michigan became a "shall-issue" state 10 years ago, generally meaning those who pass background checks and receive firearms training must be given permits by county gun boards. County clerks process the applications with assistance from local law enforcement.
State Rep. Mike Green, R-Mayville, led the effort to make Michigan became a "shall issue" state. He also is sponsoring the current legislation. It stalled in the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, but is expected to be taken up again on Tuesday.

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