Executive Director’s Message

MCRGO During COVID-19

The COVID-19 epidemic and Stay Home orders that have resulted from it have been a test of the firearms community’s strength and perseverance. They have also been an opportunity for gun control advocates to exploit the situation politically requiring us to fight battles on multiple fronts, unanticipated at the start of the year. We have been working closely with our allies to protect your rights.

The immediate concern in late March was that gun stores would be closed by Michigan’s Stay Home order. Unlike other states, Governor Whitmer has not followed the federal guidelines designating what is an essential business. Those federal guidelines protect federally licensed firearms dealers. Likely for political reasons, she has left shop owners in a state of uncertainty. We were apprehensive that the Michigan State Police and Attorney General Dana Nessel would move to close gun stores. That never happened. After investigating over a dozen cases with the National Shooting Sports Foundation, we were only able to find three stores closed by local authorities. All reopened within a day or two. Other stores closed on their own volition often due to lack of stock from early panic buying or to protect the health of workers.

Even before Stay Home took effect, counties began closing sheriff’s and clerk’s offices to the public. This has prevented new gun owners from applying for concealed pistol licenses. Thanks to MCRGO’s work in achieving CPL Reform five years ago, renewal applications have continued online and through the mail. However, COVID-19 has demonstrated the need to provide a CPL license application process for new applicants without requiring in person contact.

Private, unstaffed, outdoor ranges such as at conservation clubs have been able to remain open to their members during Stay Home. Public, staffed ranges are once again open as of early May. MCRGO would like to thank the Michigan United Conservation Clubs for its assistance and strong advocacy in protecting our ability to engage in target practice and shooting sports over the past two months.

The most recent issue has been a push to ban firearms in Michigan’s Capitol Building in the wake of COVID-19 protests. Firearms have been allowed in Michigan’s Capitol without incident for decades including long gun open carry at Second Amendment events. The aggressive behavior of a few armed individuals at the recent protests provided a public relations opportunity for those seeking to ban legal carry. The Michigan Capitol Commission has shelved the issue for the time being by pushing it to a subcommittee for further study. We will continue to work with Michigan Open Carry, Inc. to protect self defense rights at the state capitol.

MCRGO has continued to function normally during COVID-19 to serve our members and the general public. Eight years ago, the organization transitioned from a physical office setting in downtown Lansing to a virtual office system that allows operating from home offices. As is the be expected, most MCRGO CPL classes and all workshops were suspended over the past two months with only a nominal amount of students being certified -mostly immediate family members and emergency CPLs. The Ultimate Sports Show in late March was cancelled two days after MCRGO made the decision not to staff our booth in order to protect volunteers. As of right now, MCRGO plans to go ahead with the summer Upper Peninsula Picnic and Fall Firearms Festival unless future Stay Home orders continue to limit the size of public gatherings.

As always, please feel free to contact me at brady@mcrgo.org or at (517) 484-2746 with any questions or concerns you may have.

Brady Schickinger, Executive Director