Thursday, April 1, 2010

7 Things You Do Not Need To Get A Michigan CCW Permit

As a NRA credentialed firearms trainer, I have had many discussions with aspiring Michigan Concealed Pistol License (CPL) applicants who were surprised that they met all of the non-educational qualifications. There seems to be a perception, that people with CPLs are without blemish or imperfection.

While it is true that CPL-holders are statistically more law-abiding than the general public, they are not perfect. In a nutshell, they met the statutorily defined requirements in PA 381 of 2000. This article will discuss the top seven (7) things that some aspiring CPL applicants worry about, but do not need, to qualify for a CPL.

1. US Citizenship
It is not necessary to be a citizen of the United States to apply for and to be issued a Michigan CPL. PA 381 of 2000, allows resident aliens to be issued concealed carry privileges. However, the non-citizen applicants must be in the US legally, as evidenced by a "Green Card," and must have been a resident of Michigan for at least the previous six months.

2. English Language Fluency/Proficiency
It is not necessary to speak and write the English language with perfect fluency to receive a Michigan CPL. However, they must meet the state's specified requirements. One such requirement is the completion of a Basic Pistol Safety Training Class.

It is not uncommon to envision a scenario whereby a person with a language barrier or a learning disability may have some challenges with some aspects of the training. However, a professional firearms training organization will make apropriate provisions to enable challenged students to satisfactorily meet the educational requirements of a CPL Class.

My personal opinion is that if a challenged person can get a state-issued Driver's License, he can get a state-issued CPL.

3. A Driver's License
It is not necessary for an applicant to have a Driver's License to qualify for a Michigan CPL. However, it can be inferred from the statute that the applicant should at least been previously issued a state of Michigan ID Card. For example, PA 381 of 2000 specifies that armed CPL-holders, when questioned by law enforcement, to present both Michigan ID and the CPL.

4. Prior Firearms Training Experience
All applicants for a Michigan CPL must complete a Basic Pistol Safety Training Class. It is in this class, whereby an applicant will learn and demonstrate the knowledge and ability that the state requires of its CPL-holders. Of course, it is important that aspiring licensees do their homework before deciding where to take a firearms training class; it must at least meet the minimum requirements specified in PA 381 of 2000.

5. A Perfect Background
It is not necessary to have a perfect background to be issued a Michigan CPL. However, the applicant must meet the requirements, as specified in the statute. Many aspiring CPL applicants make the assumption that any violation on their record automatically disqualifies them from consideration.

Most folks correctly know that a felony conviction bars a person from possessing and owning a handgun. Not being eligible for a CPL, under this scenario, is a truthful and logical conclusion. However, there are circumstances that may not be so "cut and dried."

For example, I have talked to many people who were convicted of "Driving While Impaired - First Offense" and mistakenly thought they were at least temporarily disqualified. The offense is not trivial but it doesn't disqualify a person from CPL licensure. Applicants should check the statute to determine their eligibility. Not doing so, can unnecessarily deny them an opportunity to acquire a CPL.

6. A Firearm
It is not a requirement to own a firearm to be issued a Michigan CPL. Certainly, most folks desiring to obtain a CPL will have plans to buy a handgun, but it's not necessary. Applicants who don't own handguns can rent and use them at the gun range when they satisfy the requirements of their Basic Pistol Safety Training Class.

Furthermore, a person may desire to get a CPL without ever having any intention of ever carrying a concealed handgun. This scenario exists when a person's spouse has a CPL and he/she gets a license to avoid potential hazards present in the law.

For example, if a licensed person has a pistol in the car and his unlicensed spouse is also present, there is a legal problem if he exits without taking the gun with him. Under these circumstances, the spouse is now possessing a concealed handgun in a car without a permit. As such, if discovered the spouse could be found guilty of a felony that is punishable by five years of imprisonment.

7. Perfect Driving Record
It is not necessary to have a perfect driving record to be issued a Michigan CPL. Many people mistakenly believe that a couple of unpaid parking tickets makes them ineligible for licensure. Civil infractions are not criminal offenses and are not relevant. However, if civil matters - such as this - left unpaid lead to a warrant being issued for an applicant's arrest, he would then be ineligible because "fugitives from justice" can't get a CPL.

Bottom Line:
The Michigan CPL is not a popularity contest. If an applicant meets the criteria, as specified in the statute, the state must - as a legal matter - issue the license. Thus, the only resources that should be consulted to determine eligibility should be the statute itself or a practicing attorney who is knowledgeable in that area of the law. To do otherwise, could prevent an aspiring applicant from getting licensed due to inaction. When in doubt, check the statute.
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