Editorial: Keep safety course rule for gun permits
Rules to better ensure gun safety do not threaten the Second Amendment. Michigan has reasonable regulations in place to make sure those who are awarded concealed carry permits have a passing understanding of how to handle a handgun, and a familiarity with the state’s firearms laws.
Those rules should remain in place.
Republicans in the state Legislature want to scrap the training requirement of the CCW law, allowing those who want to carry a concealed weapon to do so without demonstrating a competency in the safe workings of a pistol or revolver.
That would be little different than dumping the test required before a driver’s license is issued. Both work to protect the operator and the public.
Current rules allow any Michigan resident who meets the federal requirements for gun ownership to obtain a permit after a short course on safety and a brief demonstration of competency on the firing range. It is not an onerous demand, although there are costs involved in paying for the instruction.
Fees for the course generally range from $70 to $100. Obtaining a license costs $100, and a five-year renewal is $115.
Proponents of scrapping the training course argue it is an unnecessary expense, and pointless since it is only required for weapons that are hidden under clothing and not those openly carried.
There are plenty of issues with open carry. But most gun owners are not comfortable displaying their weapons for all to see. Concealment is the far more common method of carrying a firearm.
The bill eliminating the course slowed in its movement through the Legislature after the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas.
But it isn’t going away. Gun legislation remains a preoccupation in Lansing.
Democrats and Republicans have introduced 80 bills directly or indirectly affecting guns. Pro-gun rights lawmakers want to further streamline the process for obtaining a CCW permit, and to expand where firearms can be carried to include schools and other venues that are currently off-limits.
Anti-gun legislators want to limit access, extend waiting periods for purchasing a firearm and put tighter restrictions on where guns are allowed.
But Michigan has the right balance in its gun laws. Those who want a concealed weapon permit can get one fairly easily. The required course is not difficult to pass, nor is the cost prohibitive. Lawmakers could reduce the renewal fee, but beyond that, further tinkering isn’t necessary.
The safety course is a responsible requirement, and does nothing to limit the right to carry a firearm. Lawmakers should keep this common sense rule in place.