With legislative consideration of constitutional concealed carry now underway, some of our members are asking why MCRGO, an organization dedicated to responsible gun use and with a training program, would support allowing people to carry concealed without a CPL. That’s a fair question. Here’s why:
Constitutional carry without a license is not the same as concealed carry with a CPL. Without a CPL, a person would not be able to borrow another person’s pistol. They would not enjoy reciprocity with most other states. They would not be exempted from purchase permits for private party sales or other side benefits of a CPL.
Most importantly, a person without a CPL would still be subject to the gun free zones in MCL 750.234d which are much more restrictive than the concealed pistol free zones in MCL 28.425o. An unlicensed CPL holder would not be able to carry in a bank or credit union. They would not be able to carry in a church even with permission. And they would not be able to carry in any location with a liquor license including grocery stores, gas stations, party stores, pharmacies, restaurants, etc. And 750.234d does not have a parking lot exception.
Consequently, constitutional concealed carry is much more limited than concealed carry with a CPL. It should be seen more as an introduction to concealed carry. We anticipate that most people who begin to carry concealed without a CPL are soon going to want to obtain their CPL. That option will remain open to them following the same training and qualifying requirements currently in place. The number of Michigan residents taking pistol safety training courses will continue to rise resulting in more responsible gun ownership.
This is not simply speculation on our part. A dozen states already have constitutional concealed carry. Firearms instructors in those states have reported a growing number of students. Despite the fears of some, those state have not seen an increase in unjustified firearms homicides. In fact, their crime rates are decreasing.
Along with the practical benefits of constitutional concealed carry, is the basic principle behind it. Just like we do not need to pay a poll tax to vote, we should be forced to buy a license to bear arms. Currently, the only form of constitutional carry we have in Michigan is open carry. And many people would prefer not to open carry for a variety of reasons. When shall-issue concealed carry was being debated two decades ago, there was resistance among existing CPL holders about opening up concealed carry to all adults. There was a real fear about “blood in the streets.” We now know those fears were unfounded. The same will prove true in time for constitutional carry. More people taking training and a lower rate of violent crime are why MCRGO supports this legislation.
Brady Schickinger, Executive Director