Gun Control Updates: Late tricks, red flag laws, MUCC testimony

Since MUCC’s inception in 1937, our membership has spoken time and time again with broad support for an individual’s firearms rights, opposing any attempt to infringe on the rights of lawful firearm owners. 

Michigan United Conservation Clubs grassroots, member-driven policy supports enforcing existing firearm laws and opposes new regulations on our members who are responsible, legal gun owners.

MUCC opposed most of the recent gun legislation as infringements on the rights of lawful firearm owners within our membership. MUCC does however support, as introduced, SB 81-82/HB 4140-4141 as standalone sales and use tax exemptions on gun safety devices. These bills promote and educate on safe and lawful firearm use and fall within the scope of our organization’s mission.

You can use this tool HERE to find your legislator and urge a NO vote when these bills are voted on Thursday. 

MUCC submitted written testimony to both committees, but over the course of four committee hearings, firearms and conservation organizations were given few moments out of the 11-plus hours of verbal testimony. 

House Bills 4138 (H-1) and 41424143 were approved 8-5 along party lines in the House Judiciary Committee on March 8 and on the House Floor hours later in a vote 56-53 along strict party lines. The remaining House bills have not yet moved out of the committee. The following day, the bills were accepted by the Senate and in an unusual move, not referred to a Senate Committee, but remain on the Senate Floor. 

On Thursday, Senate Bills 76-86 were all approved in the Senate Civil Rights, Judiciary, and Public Safety Committee. Senate Bills 8182 (sales tax exemptions) were unanimously approved and the rest passed 5-2 along party lines. 

A vote on the House floor is expected this Thursday, March 16.

License/Universal Background Check for Long Guns

MUCC’s written testimony impacted the subsequent amendments to the legislation by pointing out the proposed provisions on long guns that would undermine hunting and recreational shooting, truly defying common sense. 

As such, the amended versions of SB 76 (S-2) and HB 4138 (H-1) now require a license and background check to purchase or acquire a firearm unless purchased from an FFL where a NICS check would be performed as required by law. 

The original requirement for a license to possess, carry or transport other firearms in addition to what is currently required for pistols was removed. So in short, you can still loan out a long gun under this amended proposal. 

Two new issues that were brought to our attention were flagged in our updated testimony that also requires careful consideration for further amendments, but have NOT yet been included: 

  • Long gun transfer among immediate family members.
  • Amish religious exemption.

Safe Storage

Under SB 79 (S-2)/HB 4144, MUCC requested several considerations that have NOT yet been included: 

  • Locked vehicle/trunk as safe storage.
  • Gun ranges and hunt clubs exemption.
  • There is a proposed misdemeanor if a minor simply touches an unloaded firearm without permission. But if this bill continues to move, we would ask for consideration of the lowest penalty only if the child takes that firearm off the premises. 

Red Flag Laws

No amendments were requested but several changes have been made, and amendments are still being considered. 

SB 79 (S-2) Dangerous Late Amendment: Repeal MCL 28.435 Sec. 15 (7-13)

A surprise attack on Federal Firearm Licensees (of which MUCC is one of) and gun and ammunition manufacturers was introduced in the Senate Civil Rights, Judiciary, and Public Safety Committee and approved with no advanced notice. 

This amendment removes the statutory liability protection from FFLs and manufacturers from civil lawsuits when the firearm transfer is done in accordance with the law. 

This would drive up liability insurance costs so much for FFLs and manufacturers it would likely put many small retailers and manufacturers out of business or push them out of Michigan. 

According to National Shooting Sports Foundation, who are leaders in the shooting sports data industry,  it is estimated 30 other states have this protection and only two have repealed it — California and Illinois. This is a priority issue for NSSF to address. MUCC will continue to fight to put these protections back into law as it will directly affect our day-to-day operations.

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