Sunday, March 7, 2010

7 Ways To Stay Abreast Of Michigan Firearm Law Changes

As a credentialed Firearms Trainer, I field a lot of inquiries about how to renew a state of Michigan Concealed Pistol License (CPL). Many folks are surprised when I inform them that they do not have to take a "Renewal Class." However, this fact does not excuse them from knowing changes in the law with respect to lethal force, self-defense, and Michigan firearms law. As you may heard, not knowing the law is not a valid excuse for running afoul of it. This article will enumerate seven ways for gun owners and CPL licensees to stay abreast of changes in Michigan law.

1. Become Familiar With The Michigan Legislature Web Site

The state of Michigan maintains a web site that details all laws currently on the books and proposed statutes that are being considered for enactment. Contrary to what you may have heard, you do not need to be a lawyer to understand "legalese." It may be tough, at times, to understand what is being communicated - at first - but it gets easier as you read and study them over time. Of course, if you don't understand something, you can always consult other resources to explain legal concepts that may seem a bit difficult.

2. Establish A Relationship With An Attorney

The best time to have a working relationship with an attorney is before you actually need one. For example, if you were involved in a defensive shooting scenario it would be ideal to know who you would call for counsel and advice in your hour of need. However, having a good relationship with a lawyer before you truly need one could payoff handsomely if he is someone you could ask legal questions, from time to time, to clarify what a particular statute "means" if it is not clear to you after studying it for a while. Of course, it is imperative that you have a true relationship with the lawyer otherwise your requests for information could be as construed as wasting his time.

3. Read The Newspaper Every Day

Newspapers do a decent job of informing the community of new laws going into effect and laws that are being considered for enactment. However, due to the sheer volume of laws being considered, the papers may not cover everything. This strategy of staying current with the law should not be done in isolation; others methods should also be employed.

4. Join A State-Level Firearms Organization

Joining a state-level firearms rights organization is a great way to stay in the loop on both newly enacted and currently proposed legislation in Michigan. Also, many of these organizations maintain a forum area which allows constituent members to share their opinions on not only the relevant gun laws but on other issues that are of interest to gun owners.

5. Join A National-Level Firearms Organization

Joining a national-level firearms rights organization is a great way to stay current on gun laws at the national level. In many cases, by becoming a member you will also accrue or gain member-only benefits that are of interest to gun owners.

6. Establish A Relationship With A Firearms Instructor

Many Firearms Instructors do a great job of staying current with the law. Do your research and start a relationship with one who has proven to be knowledgeable: newsletters, articles, videos, and media appearances.

7. Set Up A Google Alert

Google has a FREE service - Google Alerts - that allows you to be notified of stories published in online media that fits your specified criteria. Thus, you could create an alert that would send you an email every time a story contained the key words "Michigan" and "gun law." Of course, you will need to tweak your search query to enable it to zero in on stories that you will find relevant.

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