Saturday, October 25, 2008

Michigan Concealed Pistol License Applicant's Rights

Michigan PA 381 of 2000 enumerates several rights to prospective Michigan Concealed Pistol License (CPL) applicants. This article will explore and discuss those aforementioned rights.

I. The Right To Receive A Free CPL Application
The law requires that all Michigan County Sheriffs, local police departments, and County Clerks provide free application kits to all persons desiring to apply for a CPL. The application kits consist of the following items:
  • Official Michigan Concealed Pistol License Application
  • Documentation Identifying Firearms Training Providers
  • Documentation Explaining The Application Process
  • Documentation Explaining The Right To An Appeal
  • Fingerprint Cards For Background Checks

Any person, who is denied a requested application kit, can file a motion in Circuit Court to obtain an "Order of Mandamus" which will force the local County Gun Board to comply. The Court will also order that the County Gun Board reimburse the applicant for his incurred actual and reasonable costs and attorney fees for obtaining the aforementioned order.

II. The Right To Apply For A Concealed Pistol License
The law expressly forbids the state (i.e. Michigan), any local unit of government (e.g. County Board of Commisioners, Sheriff's Office, or City Council), or any employer from denying a person the right to do any of the following:
  • Apply For A Concealed Pistol License
  • Receive A Concealed Pistol License
  • Carry A Concealed Pistol

However, there are a few exceptions. For one, private employers may legally prohibit their employees from carrying a concealed pistol during the course of his employment duties. In addition, A police agency may prohibit an employee from carrying a concealed pistol if doing so would result in increased insurance premiums, a loss of insurance coverage, or a reduction of insurance coverage.

III. The Right To CPL Privacy
The law expressly states that an applicant's CPL status, as recorded in the state's computerized database, is confidential and is not subject to disclosure under the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA). The database has the following applicant information:
  • Legal Name, Date of Birth, Address, and County of Residence1
  • CPL Number and CPL Expiration Date, if applicable1
  • Reason For CPL Denial, if applicable2
  • Listing of Pending Criminal Charges, if applicable
  • Listing of Criminal Convictions During Licensure, if applicable
  • Listing of CPL Civil Infractions Incurred During Licensure, if applicable

1This data is also recorded in the Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN).

2If the person is later issued a CPL, the reason for the previous denial will be removed from the database.

IV. The Right To Appeal A CPL Refusal Of Issuance
The law bestows upon CPL applicants the right to contest a County Gun Board's refusal to issue a Concealed Pistol License. PA 381 requires that Michigan County Gun Boards must either issue or deny a CPL to an applicant within 30 days after the County Gun Board has received the applicable fingerprint comparison report from the Michigan State Police.

Furthermore, if the Michigan State Police do not forward the applicable fingerprint comparison report to the respective County Gun Board within 30 days after receiving it from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the County Gun Board must issue a temporary CPL to the applicant if he is otherwise qualified. The temporary permit would be valid for either 180 days or at least until the County Gun Board receives the applicable fingerprint comparison report.

If the County Gun Board does not fulfill its statutory requirement to either make a decision on an applicant's prospective CPL within the legally established timelines or fails to issue a temporary CPL when required, an applicant can file suit in Circuit Court to force the issue.

The case will be evaluated by a review of just the public record for error, unless the reason for the "refusal to issue" was made on the basis that the applicant poses a threat to himself or another person. In that case, witnesses must be presented to offer sworn testimony.

If the court determines that the "reason for refusal" was clearly erroneous, the court shall order the County Gun Board to issue a CPL to the applicant. Further, if the court finds that the County Gun Board's rationale for the denial was arbitrary and capricious, the court can order the state and the County Gun Board to reimburse the applicant for his court costs and attorney fees.

IV. The Right To Appeal A CPL Denial
The law bestows upon CPL applicants the right to appeal a denial of licensure. When a Michigan County Gun Board denies an applicant from receiving a CPL, it has a statutory duty to do both of the following tasks within five business days:
  • Inform the applicant in writing of the reasons for the denial. Information shall include all of the following:
    • A statement of the specific and articulable facts supporting the denial.
    • Copies of any writings, photographs, records, or other documentary evidence upon which the denial is based.

  • Inform the applicant in writing of his right to appeal the denial in a Circuit Court hearing.

The denied applicant has the right to file a suit in Circuit Court to contest the CPL denial. The case will be evaluated by a review of just the public record for error, unless the reason for the denial was made on the basis that the applicant poses a threat to himself or another person. In that case, witnesses must be presented to offer sworn testimony.

If the court determines that the denial was clearly erroneous, the court shall order the County Gun Board to issue a CPL to the applicant. Further, if the court finds that the County Gun Board's rationale for the denial was arbitrary and capricious, the court can order the state and the County Gun Board to reimburse the applicant for his court costs and attorney fees.
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