Michigan legislation would loosen gun control, might lead to conflicts for law enforcement
Michigan might loosen gun control regulations as President Barack Obama and U.S. lawmakers work to bring about new gun control measures on a federal level.
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted on three bills last week, all of which passed and will now go to the full Michigan Senate for consideration.
The main bill would exempt Michigan-made guns and ammunition from federal firearm regulations. The other two bills would exempt gun-licensing information from the Freedom of Information Act and exempt licensing requirements for some federal firearms dealers.
Should the bills pass the state Legislature and if Congress approves Obama’s comprehensive gun control package, enforcing gun control laws could become complicated for law enforcement.
Central Michigan University Police Chief Bill Yeagley said similar situations in the past, such as state medical marijuana laws, have left law enforcement policies unclear.
“One law points in one direction and one in the other,” he said. “Ultimately, the Supreme Court makes decisions and clarifications, but that takes some time.”
In the meantime, Mount Pleasant Public Information Officer Jeff Thompson said law enforcement would look to the prosecutor for direction and enforcement.
“I would have to imagine that the department’s stance would be that any implementation would have to wait until after the bill is put into law, and we get word from our prosecuting attorney’s office in regards to enforcement action,” he said.
Thompson said it is important to protect Second Amendment rights, but he also encourages people to understand and educate themselves before purchasing and using a gun.
"We respect the public’s rights to carry, but would very much encourage the public to become educated on their rights, responsibilities and the proper use of any weapon prior to purchasing and carrying one,” he said. “Without knowledge and training, any weapon that is carried may end up being used against a person instead of protecting them.”
As Central Michigan Life previously reported, Obama said he intends to use whatever weight his office holds to make gun control actions a reality.
The package, which much be approved by Congress, includes a ban on assault weapons and universal background checks.
He also directed the Centers for Disease Control and other agencies to research the causes of gun violence and directed federal law enforcement officials to trace all guns taken in custody during criminal investigations.
With the talk of stricter bans on gun control, sales throughout Mount Pleasant have skyrocketed.
“I can tell you that everything I have heard from people on the street and gun shops is that sales have definitely increased over the last several months,” Thompson said.