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House OKs gun law pre-emption, fine for CPL violation

Michael Gerstein
The Detroit News

Lansing — The Republican-controlled state House passed two new gun measures Wednesday that would stop local governments from adopting ordinances stricter than state gun laws and impose a civil fine instead of the current felony charge for those carrying expired concealed pistol licenses.

The separate pieces of legislation passed along mostly along party lines. Republicans say they’re necessary to reinforce existing state law and make sure a normally law-abiding citizen doesn’t lose their right to carry a concealed firearm because of an expired permit.

The concealed pistol measure passed 82-26 and the local preemption rule was OK’d in a 69-39 vote.

Gun control groups quickly denounced the legislation.

“Our lawmakers should focus on fixing actual problems, not on passing a bill that could force Michigan cities and towns to fight lawsuits backed by special interest groups,” said Emily Durbin with the Michigan chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

“I hope our state senators will stand up for Michigan taxpayers by rejecting this giveaway to the gun lobby,” she said.

Both bills would still have to pass the Senate and be signed by Gov. Rick Snyder before becoming law.

Michigan residents convicted of a felony currently waive their right to a concealed weapons permit. Under existing law, an expired permit charge could result in up to five years in prison.

Rep. Shane Hernandez, R-Port Huron, sponsored the concealed pistol measure that would turn an expired license violation into a $330 fine if the person is eligible to have a concealed handgun and the license has not been expired for more than six months.

The other measure from Rep. Gary Howell, R-North Branch, would impose a $500 to $2,500 fine on any local government official who knowingly adopts a gun ordinance out of line with state gun laws and does not repeal the ordinance within 90 days after a formal complaint is brought against the official over the matter.

Howell’s bill would make Michigan the fourth state to adopt a “super pre-emption” law, according to a House Fiscal Agency analysis.

Howell said it brings in line “municipalities that have not repealed ordinances that are contrary to state law.” But he could not name any such municipalities in Michigan and said he’s not certain that a list his staff prepared is even accurate.

“We have a list, but I didn’t prepare the list so I can’t guarantee its accuracy,” Howell said.