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.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Michigan County Gun Boards: Organization, Duties, & Powers

Michigan County Gun Boards are legal entities empowered by law - Public Act 381 of 2000 - to provide oversight and governance of about 176,000 Concealed Pistol Licensees (CPLs) in the state. Michigan law requires that every county in Michigan shall have a gun board. This article will detail the organization, duties, and powers of county gun boards.

Organizational Structure With County Prosecutor's Involvement
State law requires that each County Gun Board will have the following members:

  • The County Prosecutor or his designee
  • The County Sheriff of his designee
  • The Director of the Michigan State Police or his designee

The County Prosecutor serves as the Chairman of the County Gun Board.

The County Clerk shall serve as the Clerk of the County Gun Board.

Organizational Structure Without County Prosecutor
The County Prosecutor is the only specified person in the statute who can "opt-out" of participating on the County Gun Board. Should he elect to not participate, he "shall" notify the County Board of Commissioners - in writing - of his desire to not serve on the gun board for the remaining duration of his current term.

If the County Prosecutor tenders his resignation from his statutory position on the gun board, the County Commission will appoint a firearms instructor - who is certified by the state of Michigan or a national organization to teach the eight hour long Basic Pistol Safety Training Class - to serve on the gun board in the absence of the County Prosecutor for the duration of the County Prosecutor's current term in office.

The appointment of the firearms instructor to the gun board will remain in effect unless the County Commission removes him "with cause" from the gun board. In the event of the initial firearms instructor's removal from the gun board, the County Commission will appoint another certified firearms instructor to complete the term.

The County Prosecutor, despite his desire to not participate on the County Gun Board, shall be notified of all Concealed Pistol License (CPL) Applications received by the County Gun Board. Further, the County Prosecutor shall be given an opportunity to object to the granting of a CPL to an applicant and to present evidence that "bears directly on an applicant’s suitability to carry a concealed pistol safely." Moreover, the County Prosecutor shall disclose to the gun board any information of which he has actual knowledge that bears directly on an applicant’s suitability to carry a concealed pistol safely.

The members of the seated gun board will elect one of its members of the gun board to serve as Chairman.

The County Clerk shall serve as the Clerk of the County Gun Board.

Michigan County Gun Board Duties

Duty 1. Inform CPL Applicants About Michigan Firearms Laws
The County Gun Board is required to distribute to each CPL applicant - at the time that a CPL application is submitted - a copy of a compilation of all firearms laws in the state of Michigan. Every CPL applicant must sign a form attesting that he received the book. Else, he can not be later issued a CPL.

Duty 2. Maintain CPL Applications As Public Records
The County Gun Board is required to retain a copy of each CPL application as an official record. The statute is silent as to what purpose this serves. Perhaps, the CPL applications can be used as evidence in cases where an applicant has made a material false statement.

Duty 3. Issue Concealed Pistol Licenses In A Timely Manner
The County Gun Board is required to issue a CPL - within the proper time limits established by state law - to a CPL applicant who properly submits a CPL application and who meets the requirements for a CPL.

The Michigan State Police is required by law to forward the FBI's fingerprint comparison report of the CPL applicant to the applicant's County Gun Board within 10 days after receiving it. The County Gun Board must issue or deny issuance of a CPL to a CPL applicant within 30 days after the County Gun Board receives the fingerprint comparison report from the Michigan State Police.

If the fingerprint comparison report is not received by the County Gun Board within 30 days after the report is forwarded to the Michigan State Police by the FBI, the County Gun Board shall issue a temporary CPL to the CPL applicant if the CPL applicant is otherwise qualified for a CPL.

A temporary CPL issued under these circumstances is valid for 180 days or until the County Gun Board receives the fingerprint comparison report. If the CPL applicant with the temporary CPL is later denied regular CPL status, the CPL applicant shall immediately surrender the temporary CPL to the County Gun Board that issued that temporary CPL.

The County Gun Board is not required to issue a CPL if the FBI determines that the CPL applicant's fingerprints are "unclassifiable." A status of unclassifiable means that a determination could not be made as to whether the CPL applicant has a criminal record. This situation is usually caused by unclear or smudged fingerprints.

Duty 4. Must Notify Denied Applicants Of Their Right To Appeal
If County Gun Board denies issuance of a CPL, it shall within 5 business days do both of the following:

  • 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.

Michigan County Gun Board Powers

1. Exclusive Authority Over CPL Licensing
The County Gun Board, notwithstanding an order from a Circuit Court, has exclusive authority to issue, deny, revoke, or suspend a license to carry a concealed pistol. Only two members of the County Gun Board are needed to establish a quorum. In addition, the business of the County Gun Board shall be conducted by a majority vote of all of the members of the County Gun Board.

A County Gun Board may not convene more than three panels to assist it with its evaluations of CPL applicants. These panels do not have the authority to issue, deny, revoke, or suspend a CPL. Further, these panels - if used - shall be comprised of representatives from the Prosecutor's Office (if on the board), the Michigan State Police, and the County Sheriff's Office.

1A. CPL Revocations
A County Gun Board that issued a CPL to an applicant may revoke his CPL if the County Gun Board determines any of the following:

  • The licensee committed a violation, other than a civil infraction as defined by PA 381 of 2000.
  • The licensee is not statutorily eligible to have a CPL.

In both of the aforementioned cases, a revocation can not transpire until a written complaint has been made and the CPL licensee has had at least ten day's notice to appear at a hearing on the matter.

1B. CPL Suspensions
A County Gun Board, upon learning of a licensee being found responsible for three of more civil infractions during his current licensed term - as defined in PA 381 of 2000 - must conduct a hearing and may suspend the CPL for no more than a year.

A County Gun Board that receives notification from law enforcement that a CPL holder has been charged with a felony or a misdemeanor, as defined in Public Act 381 of 2000, must suspend the permit until there is a final disposition on the charges.

A County Gun Board, upon having clear and convincing evidence based on specific articulable facts that a licensee poses a danger to himself or to any other person, shall immediately suspend the individual’s license pending a revocation hearing.

2. Authority To Investigate CPL Applicants
A County Gun Board is authorized to conduct investigations on CPL applicants to the extent necessary to determine whether the applicant meets the requirements of being eligible to receive a CPL. Once that determination is made, the investigation ceases. The County Gun Board may require an applicant to appear before it to assist it with its investigation. The failure of an applicant to appear, without valid reason, is sufficient grounds for the County Gun Board to deny the license.

3. Authority To Issue Temporary CPLs
A County Gun Board has the authority to immediately issue a temporary CPL to a CPL applicant if it determines there is probable cause to believe the safety of the applicant or the safety of a member of the applicant’s family is endangered by the applicant’s inability to immediately obtain a regular CPL. A temporary license shall be unrestricted and shall be valid for not more than 180 days. A temporary CPL may be renewed for one additional period of not more than 180 days.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Michigan Concealed Pistol License: How To Get One

The process by which an aspiring applicant for the state of Michigan's Concealed Pistol License (CPL) is not unduly complex. There are some general steps that must be followed for a successful result: the bestowal of the CPL. The problem for many people is that there is a lack of credible information available for people to research. This article will serve as an index to several articles that I have written on the process. Feel free to either read and digest the articles in sequence or only look at the articles that address your particular needs.

Step 1. Investigate Whether You Really Want A CPL

Step 2. Determine Whether You Meet The CPL Qualifications

Step 3. Take A Valid "Basic Pistol Safety Training Class"

Step 4. Submit Your CPL Application

Michigan Basic Pistol Safety Training Class: 5 Reasons Not To Enroll

The completion of a Basic Pistol Safety Training Class (BPSTC) is a Michigan statutory requirement before an applicant can apply for and receive a Concealed Pistol License (CPL). A CPL permits the named licensee the priviledge of carrying a concealed pistol on or about his person. Many people can readily enumerate the benefits of having a CPL. However, there are five types of people who may elect not bother with taking a BPSTC.

1. Statutorily Disqualified CPL Applicants
A person who fails to meet the requirements of a CPL may elect to not take the class. This is especially the case, if the desired result is to apply for a Michigan Concealed Pistol License. In fact, some disqualified persons are not even allowed to come into possession of a firearm, which is a requirement of a bona fide BPSTC.

2. Persons Lacking Emotional Maturity
A person who knows that his temperment is uncontrollable should not take a BPSTC. Owning, carrying, and possessing a gun entails a huge amount of responsibility. One wrong decision made in the "heat of the moment" can lead to disastrous circumstances including but not limited to the following: criminal charges, civil lawsuits, huge legal bills, psychological costs, and a lifetime of regrets. If you are the type of person, who would instigate and escalate a "road rage" event, you should neither obtain a gun nor take a BPSTC.

3. Persons Who Are Pacifists
A person who is incapable or unwilling to defend himself or his family members from a violent and unprovoked attack under any circumstances, should not bother with enrolling in a BPSTC. There is nothing wrong with being a "true pacifist" who could only harm someone by mistake. If this world was perfect everyone would demonstrate those qualities. However, a gun wielded by a person not willing to use it in self-defense against a predator would only create more problems: getting his gun taken, getting shot by his own gun, and putting another gun in the hands of criminals.

4. Persons Living In Paradise
A person who feels that he lives in a safe area may not desire to take a BPSTC. After all, in his mind, there are no credible threats to himself or to his family. There was a time not too long when I thought there were "safe" areas to live. However, with all the murder and mayhen being done daily - both in the city and in the suburbs - I would question this position. One of my favorite quotes warns, "He who goes unarmed in Paradise should first be sure that is where he is."

5. Persons Not Knowing A Credible Firearms Instructor
Selecting a firearms training service to conduct your BPSTC should not be taken lightly. The consequences of selecting the wrong provider could be severe: a felony charge of knowingly submitting a bogus certificate to a gun board, not knowing how ammunition selection can affect the safety of innocent persons, not knowing how to shoot a gun, and not knowing the lethal force and self-defense laws of Michigan. However, if you do your research earnestly you should be able to find a firearms trainer who won't short-change your education.

Monday, October 13, 2008

How To Select A Firearms Instructor Without Getting Scammed

The selection of a firearms instructor is an important decision. It is definitely a task that shouldn't be made lightly or conducted in haphazard fashion. If a student chooses poorly, he could find himself receiving far less than he may have originally bargained for in the process. A bad choice could have a student receiving not only bad or incomplete information that could lead to criminal charges, but a poor choice could also lead to the student being on the wrong side of a civil liability lawsuit, and the student could suffer unnecessary harm due to his inaction during a violent encounter.

When evaluating a firearms instruction provider, the very first thing that you want to check is their credentials to teach the class you are interested in taking. In Michigan, the only persons that are authorized to teach the Basic Pistol Safety Training Class are either persons that have been authorized by the state (i.e. Michigan Coalition Of Law Enforcement Standards) or individuals that have been certified by either a national or state firearms training organization (e.g National Rifle Association).

In any case, all authorized training providers should have in their possession firearms training credentials from their parent organization that corroborates their authorization to instruct. Do not be afraid to ask to see it. If they are qualified, they will proudly display it to you. However, if they come up with excuses as to why don't have any training credentials you can be sure that you are talking to an unqualified firearms training provider.

After you have verified that the firearms instructor is duly certified by an appropriate firearms training authority, the next thing that you want to check is the agenda of the class that they are presenting to you to attend as a prerequisite for getting your Concealed Pistol License (CPL).

The state of Michigan statute is very clear as to what a bona fide Basic Pistol Safety Training Class must cover. In short, the following items must be covered: safe storage of firearms, shooting positions, firearms law, ammunition knowledge, avoiding criminal attacks, and controlling violent encounters. If you are considering a class being promoted by a National Rifle Association Certified Firearms Instructor, you want to be sure that it is the "Personal Protection In The Home Class."

There are several unethical firearms instructors in the greater Detroit-area intentionally teaching the wrong classes to students who desire to get a Concealed Pistol License (CPL). In most cases, these rogue instructors are fraudulently promoting the "Basic Pistol Class" as a Basic Pistol Safety Training Class. The "Basic Pistol Class" has a lot of good quality information in it. However, it does not meet the state of Michigan's explicit training standards for a CPL.

Teaching the Basic Pistol Safety Training Class "the right way" involves having a qualified legal authority present to teach firearms law. As you can imagine, a lawyer's time can be costly. Thus, the scam artists in the firearms training field simply opt to not cover it all. They would rather pocket a couple extra hundred dollars per class and short-change their students.

Carrying a concealed firearm without proper legal training is not advised and is an accident "waiting to happen." Firearms are the most heavily regulated items in our society. Thus, it is very easy to run afoul of the law. A Concealed Pistol Licensee may face criminal charges if he acts inapropriately with a gun. There is no such "animal" as common sense gun law. The law is very clear as to what is lawful. Not knowing the law is no excuse for breaking it.

Furthermore, if a Concealed Pistol Licensee shoots someone outside of the confines of lethal force/self-defense law, not only could he face murder charges but he may also face a civil liability lawsuit from the injured party or the injured party's estate. Furthermore, a Concealed Pistol Licensee might also be injured from an attacker because the licensee did not act for fear of acting unlawfully. For all of the above reasons, it is imperative that someone, who desires to get a CPL, actually takes the correct class.

Moreover, when evaluating a firearms training service you should also research their credentials. Some instructors only have training credentials to teach the CPL Class. Other instructors have every possible certification available. Obviously, the more certifications that an instructor has in his training background the more likely it is that he can deliver outstanding value to his students. Instructors of this caliber can deliver more info from related firearms courses and more clearly illustrate complex topics.

The level of professionalism of the firearms training service should also be evaluated. You want to know how long this service has been operating; brand new and unproven instructors deliver questionable value. When entrusting your firearms training to a service provider you want to know how well he has trained others in the past. You should check out their web site and see whether there are any testimonials from satisfied customers, any helpful articles he may have written, and any objective evidence of training ability - such as photos and videos.

Further evidence of an instructor's committment to being a competent authority in his field would include memberships to various gun rights organizations: National Rifle Association, Michigan Gun Owners, Michigan Coalition of Responsible Owners, and etc. An instructor who belongs to several gun rights groups is keeping abreast of the latest developments with regards to gun policy at the local, county, state, and federal levels of our government and can keep you informed.

Other items that would be helpful to know about your firearms training provider is the level of support that they can provide to you after the class. Does the company offer an alumni newsletter or other means of contact to keep in touch? Can you call them when a unique situation develops and you need advice? Are they available to help you consider firearms and accessories purchasing decisions? Fly-by-night operators in the firearms training field quickly forget you when the class is over.

In summary, before you consider signing up with a firearms training provider for CPL training, you need to do your research. There are many scam artists - credentialed and uncredentialed - that are short-changing their students by not teaching them the law.

Taking the wrong class can have dire circumstances: criminal charges, lawsuits, and unnecessary harm. Further, you should also evaluate a firearms training provider's list of qualifications, affiliated firearms memberships, level of service, and support after the class is over. Only when evaluating these items can you make an informed decision as to which company provides you with the best value.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Five Things To Do After Taking The Michigan Basic Pistol Safety Training Class

As a firearms instructor, who keeps "the door of communication" open with my Concealed Pistol License (CPL) students open, I occasionally find out that a few of them aren't dilligently working towards their personal protection goals. Sometimes I find out by a phone call and at other times it is through an email message. In every case, I playfully tease them a bit and I then implore them to "take care of business." This article will disclose the top five things that a CPL student should do very soon after taking the Michigan Basic Pistol Safety Training Class (BPSTC).

1. Return To The Range For Reinforcement
A beginning shooter should revisit the range soon after their BPSTC. The purpose of this visit is to have another shooting experience while everything that that they learned in class is still relatively fresh in their minds. If the student ventures back into the range for a shooting session soon after the BPSTC, they will have reinforced their training and have established confidence that will sustain them throughout their new life as a shooter.

If the student procrastinates and does not return to the range within a reasonable period of time, self doubt might creep in and keep them from ever going back by themselves. Fortunately for my students, all they have to do is call me and I'll meet them at the range and re-establish their prior comfort level with shooting a firearm.

2. Submit Their CPL Application To Their County Clerk
It is surprising to me, at times, when I receive a call from a CPL student who wants to know when their Course Completion Certificate (CCC) expires. From this inquiry, I correctly infer that they haven't submitted their CPL Application yet. Of course, "I give them the business," and inform them that the National Rifle Association's (NRA) opinion is that the certificates never expire, however, many county gun boards won't accept a CCC older than a year old. In a way I wished that the CCCs expired in 10 days like the Handgun Purchase Permits - there would then be a "built-in" sense of urgency to fill out and submit the application.

3. Shop For An Attorney For Representation
If a person is going to be carrying around a gun for personal protection, it is a good idea to have an attorney. The time to find a lawyer that you like and would want to represent you - when necessary - is before you actually need one. You will have some time before you receive your CPL, so use your time wisely - find a lawyer! If you believe that having a loaded pistol in your possession will give you peace of mind, just imagine how great you'll feel when you have both a loaded gun AND an attorney!

4. Shop Around For A Handgun
No one handgun fits everybody. If a person was a student in my CPL class, odds are that I had him/her shoot a full-sized Glock™ 19 (9mm) handgun. There is a chance that it didn't fit his hand, didn't have a magazine button on the "right" side for left-handed shooter, was too big for his liking, or in one way or another did not meet his requirements.

In a way, those aforementioned situations are still postive experiences. Sometimes, like in this case, it's good to also know what you don't want. In our CPL class, we extensively cover "Buying Considerations," so my students know what to look for in a firearm. Now is the time to shop so that when the CPL arrives, the newly licensed carrier will have already bought a handgun and can start "packing" without delay!

5. Pursue Further Training
A Michigan Basic Pistol Safety Training Class will not transform a novice gunhandler into a gunfighter. The only thing that a graduate of this class can assert is that he has satisfactorily met the state of Michigan's base requirements for a CPL. As such, there is a lot about personal protection that a newly minted CPL will not know. It is thus imperative that he seek out further training programs to further develop his handgun and personal protection skills.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Michigan Basic Pistol Safety Class: Firearms Law Module Considerations

The Michigan Basic Pistol Safety Training Class (BPSTC), which is required training for all prospective applicants for a Michigan Concealed Pistol License (CPL), must cover firearms legal training. Section 5j - 1a(iv) of PA 254 of 2004 specifically states that a component of the class must include the following, "Firearms and the law, including civil liability issues and the use of deadly force. This portion shall be taught by an attorney or an individual trained in the use of deadly force."

Thus, a person trained in the use of deadly force is able to teach this part of the BPSTC. This classification of people - qualified by the statute - would certainly include an experienced criminal defense attorney and an active or retired member of the law enforcement community. However, as a prospective student of the BPSTC, you need to assess the relative merits of who would best serve your interests as a student by providing relevant information while preserving your rights under law.

Many members of the law enforcement community not only arrange and provide BPSTC training but they also conduct the legal section training of those classes too. Quite a few of them figure that they can teach the law to their students and save a few bucks that they would otherwise pay to a lawyer. The flaw in that reasoning is that the legal advice that they typically give to their students would not preserve their students' rights in the aftermath of a self-defense shooting incident.

Police officers, especially those at the scene of a shooting, are only interested in one thing: gathering evidence. They make no assumptions about the relative guilt or innocence of any involved persons in the incident. They are not there to win any popularity contests. If they can assemble enough evidence to establish "probable cause" that a homeowner "may" have committed a crime, the homeowner will be arrested.

The police will be especially interested in obtaining a statement from everyone involved in an incident. They are able to use whatever tricks, lies, or subterfuge at their disposal to assemble any facts to establish probable guilt. Certain promises may be made by the police that they have no legal right to negotiate, such as "Tell us what happened and you won't be arrested."

Let the truth be told, if a citizen shoots another citizen - regardless of the circumstances - it is almost a "done deal" that he will be arrested. No amount of talking will change that. The person being investigated by the police would be wise to exercise his rights: the right to remain silent, the right not to self-incriminate, the right to due process, and the right to counsel.

Personally, I was once part of a firearms training team, early in my gun safety training career, that featured a police officer conducting the legal training for a BPSTC. This particular officer was adamant in his presentation that CPL licensees, involved in a shooting, make certain admissions to the police: the number of assailants, how many shots were fired, and what general directions those shots were fired. The rationale offerred by the officer was that the police needed that info to establish whether any other innocent third party was injured by an errant shot.

His explanation sounded reasonable to me at the time and I am sure that the students in the class were also appeased by his response. However, my opinion - today - as a seasoned and independent firearms instructor, is markedly different. In hindsight, that advice and rationale for a person involved in a shooting incident to make a statement was atrocious.

For one, statements once made can never be retracted. Those statements are documented and are now classified as "evidence." Many times, the police have just about all the evidence they need to make an arrest but lack one essential part. Often the lynchpin comes from a statement made by the person being investigated who wants to avoid spending a night in jail.

Secondly, as taught in a bona fide BPSTC, a person involved in a defensive shooting incident is in no shape to make any statements. He may be experiencing a number of physiological effects: adrenalin dump, tunnel vision, auditory exclusion, and time distortion. Any combination or subset of those conditions could cause a false statement to be made. As stated earlier, once a statement is made it can not be taken back.

Thus, for all of the aforementioned reasons, a prospective BPSTC student should find training where the legal training module is not conducted by a member of law enforcement. Police have a "built-in" bias to want statements to be made in order to make their jobs in the field easier to investigate and to make arrests. This increased efficiency, however, comes at a cost: the sacrificed rights of the accused.

The only person, who should be trusted to provide legal section training for a BPSTC is a bar approved criminal defense attorney. He will provide legal training that is focused on the student's best interests: preserving their rights.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Michigan Basic Pistol Safety Class: Not Just For A CPL

Almost everyone knows that a bona fide Michigan Basic Pistol Safety Training Class (MBPSTC), taught by a properly certified firearms instructor, is mandatory training for anyone desiring to apply for a Michigan Concealed Pistol License (CPL). However, what most people do not know is that the MBPSTC is also a good introductory class to firearms safety for all new handgun owners. Graduates of the MBPSTC will have a solid grounding in responsible handgun ownership, shooting fundamentals, Michigan firearms law, and personal protection strategies.

In fact, there are only a couple of topics taught in the MBPSTC that are only of benefit to just CPL licensees. With the exception of proper CPL licensee responsibilities during traffic stops and Pistol Free Zones, everything else in the class "should" be required knowledge for all handgun owners. Since there are already more than an estimated 20,000 combined firearms laws at different levels of government throughout this country on the books, I won't advocate any more legal requirements for owners of firearms.

Ignorance about firearms and their regulation reigns supreme in my community, as many statutory hurdles that were designed to discourage firearms ownership were allowed to remain in force until only a few short years ago. Many people calling firearms instructors today - due to the rampant and escalating levels of crime - are mildly shocked to discover that it is not necessary to have a CPL to have a handgun in their home. Unfortunately, many of them receive a lot of information and only act upon the bare minimum: getting a 10-Day Purchase Permit to buy a handgun for the home.

The MBPSTC agenda devotes an entire hour of the eight hour class on personal protection strategies for the home. This module covers everything that a homeowner would ever want to know about protecting himself and his loved ones at home. Items of interest cover the following:
  • Personal And Home Safety Tips
  • Emergency Plan For Break-In Response
  • Proper Mindset Conditioning
  • States of Mental Awareness
  • Intruder/Assailant Confrontations
  • Realities Of Shooting Encounters
  • Police Arrival Considerations
  • Emotional And Legal Aftermath Issues

The MBPSTC agenda also devotes time during the agenda to address responsible gun ownership. There was a time in our country when our children were taught these things at home. However, the times have changed since that era. The items of interest that are covered in this module address the following topics:
  • The Three Primary Gun Safety Rules
  • Rules For Using And Storing A Handgun
  • Ethical Responsibility
  • Ammunition Type Considerations

The crown jewel of the MBPSTC is the legal training that the students will receive. After this module is presented, students will not only know what they can do and when they can do it, but they will also know what they can't do. Legal topics covered in this module include the following items:
  • CPL Application Process
  • CPL Disqualifying Factors
  • Record Expungement
  • Pistol Free Zones
  • Deadly Force & The Law (Case Studies)
  • Castle Doctrine & the Duty to Retreat
  • Intent Of Shooting/Stopping Threats
  • Defense Of "Third-Persons"
  • Transfer Of Intent
  • Michigan's New "Stand Your Ground" Laws
  • Self Defense vs. Fighting
  • Police Stop Encounters
  • Gun Sales & Transfer Of Ownership
  • Posession And Transportation Of Handguns
  • Safety Inspection/Gun Registration
  • Shooting Aftermath/Statements To Police

Furthermore, no NRA firearm safety class would be complete without addressing basic handgun skills. The MBPSTC is no exception in this regard. After finishing the subject matter in this module, the students will have a firm grasp of the concepts related to safe gun handling:

  • Range Safety Briefing
  • General Range Safety Rules
  • Ammunition Malfunctions
  • Defensive Accuracy
  • Fundamentals of Marksmanship
  • Elements of Good Shooting Positions
  • Two-Handed Standing Shooting Positions
  • Sight Alignment and Flash Sight Picture
  • Cover versus Concealment
  • The Tueller Drill
  • Handgun Buying Considerations
  • Ammunition Qualification
  • Dry-Fire Exercises
  • Target Qualification

Owning a handgun is a huge responsibility, regardless of whether you want to just have one in the home or you also want to apply for a CPL so that you carry it outside the home. In both cases, the handgun owner would be best served if he knew the law, knew how to load, carry, use, and unload his firearm, and knew how to enact safeguards to protect his family.

Firearms and their usage are heavily regulated at all levels of government. Ignorance of the law or ignorance of safe gun handling skills will be of little use to you if you are ever declared to have used a firearm unlawfully. Thus, a MBPSTC is of benefit to anyone that owns a handgun. If you own a handgun, you owe it to yourself and your family to get some training.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Michigan Basic Pistol Safety Training Class

Michigan residents, desiring to apply for a state of Michigan Concealed Pistol License (CPL), are required by law to satisfactorily complete a bona fide "Basic Pistol Safety Training Class." However, due to fact that there are so many con artists operating in the firearms training field, many people are unwittingly taking the wrong class.

Many graduates of these unlawful programs are getting short-changed with respect to the knowledge that they are supposed to receive. Furthermore, the info they receive in these rogue classes - or in some cases do not receive - can make the community, as a whole, less safe and subject the student to criminal charges and civil lawsuits. This article will explicitly detail how a prospective student can determine whether the class they are considering is appropriate training for a Michigan CPL.

Michigan Public Act 254 of 2004, is very specific as to what constitutes a Basic Pistol Safety Training Class. A bona fide class meeting the requirements of the aforementioned statute has the following characteristics:
  • The program is certified by this state or a national or state firearms training organization and provides 5 hours of instruction in, but is not limited to providing instruction in, all of the following:
    • The safe storage, use, and handling of a pistol including, but not limited to, safe storage, use, and handling to protect child safety.
    • Ammunition knowledge, and the fundamentals of pistol shooting.
    • Pistol shooting positions.
    • Firearms and the law, including civil liability issues and the use of deadly force. This portion shall be taught by an attorney or an individual trained in the use of deadly force.
    • Avoiding criminal attack and controlling a violent confrontation.
    • All laws that apply to carrying a concealed pistol in this state.

  • The program provides at least 3 hours of instruction on a firing range and requires firing at least 30 rounds of ammunition.
  • The program provides a certificate of completion that states the program complies with the requirements of this section and that the individual successfully completed the course, and that contains the printed name and signature of the course instructor. Not later than October 1, 2004, the certificate of completion shall contain the statement, "This course complies with section 5j of 1927 PA 372."
  • The instructor of the course is certified by this state or a national organization to teach the 8-hour pistol safety training course described in this section.

The first thing that a student should check when evaluating a CPL training class is to check out the credentials of the organization sponsoring the class. The state of Michigan, as a governmental organization, has chosen the Michigan Coalition Of Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES) organization as its officially designated organization to provide CPL training.

In addition, the statute also makes reference to "national firearms training organizations" as being qualified to conduct CPL training classes. It is widely understood that this designation in the statute authorizes credentialed National Rifle Association (NRA) trainers to conduct CPL training courses.

For corroboration, both MCOLES and NRA certified instructors have credential cards that can viewed by prospective students to confirm they are qualified - by the state of Michigan statute - to conduct CPL training. Credentials from other organizations - "state firearms training organizations" or otherwise - conducting CPL training should be scrutinized closely. If necessary, contact your local county gun board to confirm whether they would accept a Course Completion Certificate from that group.

The second item that should be checked, by a prospective CPL student, is the agenda of the class under consideration. If the class does not explicitly cover the items specified in the statute, it (the class) does not meet the state of Michigan's requirements for a CPL Class.

Caveat Emptor! Several firearms instructors in the metro-Detroit area are promoting their "Basic Pistol" classes as suitable training for a CPL. These firearms instructors are knowingly defrauding their students, who don't know enough about the CPL statute to know that they are being taught the wrong class.

These instructors are intentionally teaching the "wrong" class because if they taught the correct class, "Personal Protection In The Home," a lawyer would have to be present to teach the legal topics that the state of Michigan wants each CPL student to know. As you can imagine, lawyers are costly. Thus, these scam artists would rather save a couple hundred dollars and have their students not fully informed.

Students that do not have the requisite legal training are a danger to the community. They don't have the slightest clue as to what they can and can't do with a CPL. They are running a great risk of behaving unlawfully - perhaps out of ignorance - and are being setup to catch a murder charge and a civil lawsuit. Michigan's laws regarding self-defense and lethal force are very clear. Ignorance of the law will not serve as a valid defense for inappropriate and unlawful conduct.

Do not make the mistake of assuming - like the county gun boards who metaphorically look the other way when these certificates arrive in their offices - that if the Course Completion Certificate says that the class "complies with section 5j of 1927 PA 372" that it actually does. In most cases, these counterfeit classes are cheaper - which should be a tipoff that something is wrong.

Instructors, who teach the class the correct way, tell "bargain shoppers" that when "you pay less - you get less." The irony is that if these students ever find themselves in a bad situation, where they behave irresponsibly with a firearm, this class will end of being significantly more expensive in the long run: murder charges and civil lawsuits.

Michigan Concealed Pistol License: 7 Reasons To Get One

A Michigan Concealed Pistol License (CPL) enables a licensed person to carry a loaded pistol on or about his person or vehicle anywhere he has a legal right to be, with the exception of statutorily defined Pistol Free Zones. With a CPL, a licensee can receive many benefits. This article will enumerate seven such benefits.

1. Personal Protection
The first justification for obtaining a CPL is that the licensee will achieve the piece of mind that comes with having a viable option should he be presented with unprovoked violence from an assailant.

Despite what many people "think" about "what should be" in our society, "the reality" is that no citizen has a "right" to not be a crime victim. The courts have consistently ruled over the years, that the law enforcement community can not be held civilly or criminally liable for preventing any single person from being a crime victim.

The job of the police is to uphold the general peace and to investigate crimes - after the fact. Thus, during these perilous times, it would be prudent for law abiding citizens, who desire to be safe and secure in their persons, to exercise more responsibility for not only their own personal safety but also for the safety of their loved ones.

2. Handgun Buying Process Is Simpler
A CPL licensee is not required to obtain a 10-Day Handgun Purchase Permit before buying a handgun in Michigan. The buyer, with a CPL, merely has to present his license to a seller. The CPL serves as proper notice that the buyer is eligible to buy a handgun. Of course, normal paperwork, reporting requirements, and a safety inspection will still have to be performed. Without a CPL, it can be rather burdensome for a person, who desires to buy a handgun, to visit his local law enforcement authority for a purchase permit every time he wishes to buy a handgun.

3. Borrowing A Handgun Is Simpler
A CPL licensee is not required to register a handgun that he wishes to borrow for a lawful task. Under current Michigan law, non-CPL licensees have to register a handgun that they wish to borrow from the current owner. Then when the "borrower" is done with the gun, the "owner" then has to re-register the gun back into his own name. A CPL reduces a lot of bureaucratic laws.

4. Additional State-Issued Picture Identification
A CPL licensee will, by virtue of his licensure, have another form of state-issued picture identification to have available for his use. Of course not all licensees would want to voluntarily divulge "their status" under the CPL statute, however, if they made the decision to use it to assist with their identification to a third party, it could facilitate a specific purpose.

5. Safer Vacations
Michigan CPL licensees enjoy concealed carry priviledges in 35 other states. CPL licensees, however, still have the responsibility of ensuring that the states they will both be traveling to and traveling through have reciprocity with Michigan. In addition, home rules apply. Thus, Michigan CPL licensees will have to do their research to know how concealed carry laws in reciprocal states differ from Michigan.

6. Enhanced Employment Benefits
Some jobs and careers pay CPL licensees significantly better benefits - wages - for being licensed. For example, armed security guards typically earn more money than those without a firearm. Furthermore, a CPL may enable a licensee an opportunity for employment in a variety of high paying fields: private investigations, executive protection, armed courier, and bail enforcement.

7. Community Service
The sad state of affairs and poor health of both our regional and local economies are forcing many communities to drastically cut their operating budgets. As such, many cities are relying more upon their reserve/auxillary officers to perform many important tasks. With a CPL, a licensee can have an opportunity to serve the welfare of his community by applying for and accepting a position as a volunteer law enforcement officer.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Michigan Concealed Pistol License: Application Submission Tips

Despite the existence of a uniform state-wide Concealed Pistol License (CPL) Law, many Michigan county gun boards continue to exert their influence on the application process via a varying array of methods of following the law. For example, many Michigan county gun boards still require CPL applicants to still appear before them before a final decision is made on their application.

One of the major purposes and consequences of the aforementioned law was to remove the "discretionary" and "arbitrary" idiosyncracies from the CPL process, such that qualitative analyses - that were typically made in the past - at a gun board appearance were rendered moot; the applicant either meets the requirements or he doesn't.

Nevertheless, many county gun boards still insist on retaining the appearance of control even though that era of "discretionary licensing" has long passed. The purpose of this document is provide the CPL applicant with a "best practices" process to follow when submitting his CPL application to his resident county gun board to reduce the likelihood of application submission and processing delays.

The first thing that a prospective CPL applicant should do is to make sure that his Course Completion Certificate (CCC) from his Basic Pistol Safety Training Class complies with the state of Michigan's statutory requirements. Although, Michigan law (PA 254 of 2004) does "not require that a specific form, color, wording, or other content" appear on a CCC, "except as provided in subsection (5)". Thus, a valid certificate shall have the following features:
  • A statement that the named student successfully completed the class.
  • A statement certifying that "This course complies with section 5j of 1927 PA 372."
  • The printed name of the firearms instructor.
  • The signature of the firearms instructor.

A CCC missing any of the aforementioned feautures could be refused by your county gun board. Thus, you need to be sure your CCC is compliant. Else, you'll need to track down your certified firearms instructor and ask him to make the necessary updates to your CCC or ask him to issue you another one that is compliant to the law.

The next thing that a prospective CPL student should do is to ensure that he has the latest revision of the Michigan Concealed Pistol License Application (Form RI-012). Depending on the county, your application may not be accepted even if your county had the wrong version posted on its web site. Thus, to be absolutely sure that you have the latest version of the application, you should only download it from the state of Michigan's official web site.

After obtaining a CPL Application, you should fill it out completely, with the exception of signing it, before you arrive at your county clerk's office. Depending on the county, you will not be assisted by county staff until your application is completed; you will lose your place in line. Furthermore, your application must be signed in the presence of a County Deputy Clerk. If it is already signed, you may be forced to fill out another application.

Furthermore, at least one metropolitan Detroit county gun board has established "county rules" as to what constitutes an acceptable reference for use on the CPL Application, despite a lack of authorization to do so under state law. In fact, state law specifically has a "preemption clause" in the CPL Law that specifically forbids the practice of cities and other levels of government from overriding and modifying provisions established by the legislature.

Nevertheless, until it is challenged by a resident "harmed" by the process, residents of this county must provide two references who have different residences. Also, neither reference can share the same residence of the applicant.

In general, it is always a good idea to call ahead and confirm a few items before you arrive at your county clerk's office to submit your application. Be admonished, that at least one populous county clerk's office in southeast Michigan is notorious for not answering the telephone regardless of the day, date, or time.

Some things that you would like to know before-hand include the following:
  • Whether that office takes applicant photos
  • Whether that office takes applicant fingerprints
  • What forms of payment they take for the $105 application fee

If your county clerk's office provides an option for you to have your passport-style picture taken for a fee, even if it costs twice as much as you could have it done elsewhere, you should let them take it. For starters, it saves you one trip to make and - more importantly - you don't have to worry if your picture is compliant to the picture specifications listed in the application:
Passport Photo standards: Taken alone, sufficiently recent to be a good likeness (normally taken within the last 6 months), with an image size from bottom of chin to top of head (including hair) of between 1 and 1 3/8 inches. Photo must be clear, front view, full face, taken in normal street attire without a hat or dark glasses with a white or off-white background. They must be capable of withstanding a mounting temperature of 225° Fahrenheit (107° Celsius). Snapshots, most vending machine prints, and magazine or full-length photographs are unacceptable.

In short, they can't refuse to take your application if the photo doesn't meet their requirements. After all, they took it.

Moreover, it is also a good idea to know if your county clerk's office will be taking your fingerprints. Some offices have kiosk-style machines where they can do it in the office. If your county offers this option, you should avail yourself of the opportunity, as it saves you from taking a trip to the county Sheriffs Office.

Further, you would also like to know what manner of payment your county clerk's office accepts for the payment of your application fee. The manner of payment varies widely - on a county basis. Some county clerk offices accept all or a subset of the following payment options: Money Order, Cashier's Check, Certified Check, Personal Check, Cash, Visa™, & MasterCard™

Please keep in mind that your receipt for your application fee is important. It serves both as proof that you paid your application fee and authorizes the Sheriff's Office to take your fingerprints without an additional charge AND it serves as the official date that you turned in your CPL Application for statutory time-keeping purposes. Don't lose it!

In conclusion, the process by which an applicant officially applies for a Michigan Concealed Pistol License has many pitfalls that can delay processing. Hopefully, by reading this document, you will not suffer from the bureaucratic snafus that have inconvenienced applicants before you.

Good Luck!

Michigan Concealed Pistol License: Where To Apply

Wayne County Clerk - Office #1
Ms. Cathy M. Garrett
Email: Not Published
2 Woodward Avenue
Detroit, Michigan 48226
Ph: (313) 313-224-6262
Fx: (313) 313-224-6771
Hours: Monday - Friday (8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.)
Photos Onsite: Yes
Prints: Yes
Payments Accepted: M.O., Cashier's Check, Certified Check, & Cash
Published Processing Time: Not Disclosed
Gun Board Appearance: No

Wayne County Clerk - Office #2
Ms. Cathy M. Garrett
Email: Not Published
3100 Henry Ruff Road
Westland, Michigan 48186
Ph: (734) 326-4690
Fx: (734) 721-2836
Hours: Monday - Friday (8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.)
Photos Onsite: Yes
Prints: Yes
Payments Accepted: M.O., Cashier's Check, Certified Check, & Cash
Published Processing Time: Not Disclosed
Gun Board Appearance: No

Oakland County Clerk
Ms. Ruth Johnson
Building 12 East - Courthouse Bldg.
1200 North Telegraph Road
Pontiac, Michigan 48341
Ph: (248) 858-0572
Ph: (888) 350-0900 Toll-Free
Fx: Not Listed
Hours: Monday - Friday (8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.)
Photos Onsite: Yes ($10)
Prints: OC Sheriff's Office
Payments Accepted: Cash, Mastercard™, Visa™, & Personal Check
Published Processing Time: 2 - 3 Months
Gun Board Appearance: No

Macomb County Clerk
Ms. Carmella Sabaugh
40 North Main (1st Floor)
Mount Clemens, Michigan 48043
Ph: (586) 469-5749
Fx: (586) 469-4751
Hours: Monday - Friday (8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.)
Photos Onsite: Yes ($15)
Prints: MC Sheriff's Office
Payments Accepted: Cash, Check, M.O., & Credit Cards
Published Processing Time: 3 Months
Gun Board Appearance: Yes
Other: Requirements For Macomb Residents
Special: Online CPL Application Status Lookup

Washtenaw County Clerk
Mr. Lawrence Kestenbaum
Email: Not Published
200 N. Main
Suite 120
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48107
Ph: (734) 222-6730
Ph: (734) 222-6700
Fx: (734) 222-6528
Hours: Monday - Friday (8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.)
Photos Onsite: No
Prints: Washtenaw County Sheriff
Payments Accepted: Not Listed
Published Processing Time: Not Listed
Gun Board Appearance: No

Lenawee County Clerk
Ms. Roxann Holloway
425 N. Main St.
Judicial Bldg. 3rd Floor
Adrian, MI 49221
Ph: (517) 264-4599
Fx: (517) 264-4790
Photos Onsite: Not Specified
Prints: Not Specified
Payments Accepted: Not Listed
Published Processing Time: Not Listed
Gun Board Appearance: Not Specified

Livingston County
Ms. Margaret M. Dunleavy
Email: Not Published
200 East Grand River Avenue
Howell, Michigan 48843
PH: (517) 546-0500
FX: (517) 546-4354
Hours: Monday - Friday (8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.)
Photos Onsite: No
Prints: Livingston County Sheriff
Payments Accepted: Not Listed
Published Processing Time: Not Listed
Gun Board Appearance: Yes

For other County Clerk Info, check the directory on the state of Michigan's web site.

Note: This info was current, as of this document's publish date. I make no warranties regarding the veracity of the info therein; all of the reported data was obtained from the respective County Clerk's web site. In other words, it'd be a good idea to call your County Clerk before you show up at his/her office.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Michigan Concealed Pistol License: Applicant Qualifications

On January 1, 2002 the state of Michigan transitioned from a "may issue" policy to a "shall issue" policy with respect to the issuance of Concealed Pistol Licenses (CPL), as a consequence of the enactment of Public Act 381 of 2001. Previously, CPL applicants had to show a need and meet other unspecified and discretionary criteria, as established by the county gun board in which the applicant resided.

Currently, the CPL licensing standards are no longer arbitrary. In essence, all CPL applicants that meet state's statutory requirements "shall be" issued a CPL. The current requirements are significantly more stringent than those that existed under prior law, however an applicant now has the ability to know with almost absolute certainty whether he can be issued a CPL.

All Michigan CPL Licensees must be either a US citizen or a Resident Alien, a Michigan resident of at least six months, have completed a qualified Basic Pistol Safety Training Class, not be subject to a Personal Protection Order (PPO) or a pending felony charge, not be prohibited under federal law from posessing a firearm, not be dishonorably discharged from the armed services, and not be subject to a conditional bond release where firearm possession is prohibited.

The next set of requirements that a CPL applicant must meet are related to his ability to pass the state's background check. In almost all cases (there are a few extenuating circumstances), a felony conviction or a misdemeanor domestic violence (DV) conviction at any time will automatically disqualify the applicant until the offense is expunged, set-aside, or pardoned - if possible.

Also, the CPL applicant must not have been convicted of any of the following misdemeanor offenses eight years prior to the submission of his CPL application:
  • OUIL or OWVI, Locomotive (MCL 462.353)
  • Drunk Driving, Commercial Vehicle (MCL 257.625m)
  • Fail To Stop - Personal Injury Accident (MCL 257.617a)
  • Reckless Driving (MCL 257.626)
  • OUIL Aircraft, 2nd+ Offense (MCL 259.185)
  • OUIL Vessel, 2nd+ Offense (MCL 324.80176)
  • OUIL ORV, 2nd+ Offense (MCL 324.81134)
  • OUIL Snowmobile, 2nd+ Offense (MCL 324.82127)
  • Drunk Driving, 2nd Offense (MCL 257.625)
  • Driving While License Suspended, 2nd+ Offense (MCL 257.904)
  • Hindering A Weights & Measures Enforcement Officer (MCL 290.629)
  • Hindering Director (MCL 290.650)
  • Possession of Controlled Substance (MCL 333.7403)
  • Displaying Sexually Explicit Matter To Minors (MCL 722.677)
  • Assault Or Domestic Assault (MCL 750.81)
  • Aggravated Assault Or Aggravated Domestic Assault (MCL 750.81a)
  • Entering Without Breaking (MCL 750.115)
  • Fourth Degree Child Abuse (MCL 750.136b)
  • Soliciting Of A Child For Immoral Acts (MCL 750.145a)
  • Vulnerable Adult Abuse (MCL 750.145n)
  • Solicitation To Commit A Felony (MCL 750.157b)
  • Impersonating Peace Officer Or Medical Examiner (MCL 750.215)
  • Illegal Sale Of Firearm Or Ammunition (MCL 750.223)
  • Illegal Sale Of Self-Defense Spray (MCL 750.224d)
  • Sale Or Possession Of Switchblade (MCL 750.226a)
  • Improper Transportation Of A Loaded Firearm (MCL 750.227c)
  • Failure To Have A Pistol Inspected (MCL 750.228)
  • Accepting A Pistol In Pawn (MCL 750.229)
  • Failure To Register The Purchase Of A Firearm (MCL 750.232)
  • Improperly Obtaining A Pistol (MCL 750.232a)
  • Intentionally Aiming A Firearm Without Malice (MCL 750.233)
  • Intentionally Discharging A Firearm Without Malice (MCL 750.234)
  • Possessing A Firearm On Prohibited Premises (MCL 750.234d)
  • Brandishing A Firearm In Public (MCL 750.234e)
  • Possession Of A Firearm By A Minor (MCL 750.234f)
  • Firing Firearm Aimed W/out Malice Causing Injury (MCL 750.235)
  • Parent Of Minor Who Possessed Firearm At A School (MCL 750.235a)
  • Setting A Spring Gun Or Other Device (MCL 750.236)
  • Possessing A Firearm While Under The Influence (MCL 750.237)
  • Weapon Free School Zone Violation (MCL 750.237a)
  • Indecent Exposure (MCL 750.335a)
  • Stalking (MCL 750.411h)
  • Negligent Firearm Use Resulting In Injury (MCL 752.861)
  • Negligent Firearm Use Resulting In Property Damage (MCL 752.862)
  • Reckless Discharge Of A Firearm (MCL 752.863a)

Furthermore, the CPL applicant must not have been convicted of any of the following misdemeanor offenses three years prior to the submission of his CPL application:
  • Operating Under The Influence (MCL 257.625)
  • Commercial Vehicle Driver Refusal To A Chemical Test (MCL 257.625a)
  • Negligently Fails To Comply (MCL 257.625k)
  • Circumventing An Ignition Interlocking Device (MCL 257.625l)
  • Operating A Commercial Vehicle W/Alcohol Content (MCL 257.625m)
  • Operating Aircraft Under The Influence (MCL 259.185)
  • Operating ORV Under The Influence (MCL 324.81134)
  • Operating ORV While Visibly Impaired (MCL 324.81135)
  • Operating A Snowmobile Under The Influence (MCL 324.82127)
  • Controlled Substances (MCL 333.7401 to 333.7461)
  • Operating Locomotive Under The Influence (MCL 462.353)
  • Disorderly Person (MCL 750.167)
  • Embezzlement (MCL 750.174)
  • False Pretenses (MCL 750.218)
  • Larceny (MCL 750.356)
  • Retail Fraud (MCL 750.356d)
  • Larceny - Vacant Building MCL 750.359)
  • Larceny By Conversion (MCL 750.362)
  • Defrauding Lessor (MCL 750.362a)
  • Malicious Destruction Of Property (MCL 750.377a)
  • Malicious Destruction Of Real Property (MCL 750.380)
  • Failure To Obey Police Direction (MCL 750.479a)
  • Receiving Stolen Property (MCL 750.535)
  • Malicious Use Of Telephones (MCL 750.540e)

The last set of requirements that a CPL applicant must meet are related to mental state of mind. Specifically, the state wants some assurances that the applicant does not have a mental illness. As such, a CPL applicant must not fall under any of the following situations:
  • have ever been subject to an order of involuntary commitment due to a mental illness
  • have a diagnosed mental illness at the time the application is made
  • be under a court order of legal incapacity
  • be subject to an order or disposition for any of the following:
    • Mental Health Order
    • Legally Incapacitated
    • Involuntarily Hospitalized
    • Been found not guilty by reason of insanity

Any individual who can meet all of the aforementioned requirements "shall be" issued a Michigan Concealed Pistol License. Why? Because it is the law!

Engler Did At Least One Good Thing For Detroiters!

On January 1, 2002, Michigan Governor John Engler signed into law Public Act 381 that made Michigan a "shall issue" state with respect to the issuance of Concealed Pistol Licenses (CPL). This statute revamped prior law by removing the often burdenous requirement that a CPL applicant had to demonstrate a "need" before being granted a CPL. Also, this law removed a lot of discretionary authority from local gun boards.

Once this law went into effect, any applicant who met the state's newly revised statutory requirements, would be granted a CPL. This new process was radically different from the one that existed under prior law. Previously, CPL licensing requests were routinely not granted to Wayne County residents - especially Detroiters - unless the applicants were well connected politically. This policy, under the Wayne County Gun Board, stood alone in stark contrast to other metropolitan Detroit area counties (e.g. Oakland and Macomb) that were handing out CPLs to practically anyone that applied.

Under prior law, a CPL applicant had to be at least 18 years of age. In addition, he had to "indicate a good reason to fear injury to his or her person or property or have 'other proper reasons' and must be a 'suitable person to be licensed.' Further still, the applicant could not have had a felony conviction in the past 8 years or a pending felony charge. If the aforementioned conditions were met, the applicant would be eligible receive a permit, however, the county gun board still retained the last word as to whether he would be issued a CPL.

Predictably, the possible enactment of Public Act 381 generated a whirlwind of protests. The very idea that state-wide standards would supplant the whims and fancies of local gun board fiefdoms was very unsettling. Most supporters of the then status quo justified their positions on the basis that different communities had varying levels of community standards. In other words, Wayne County citizens just could not be trusted to behave responsibly with CPLs.

The most noteworthy example of dissatisfaction with the then proposed legislation was perhaps provided by US Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) who on December 13, 2000 issued a press release urging Governor Engler to veto PA 381 on the grounds that "those best in a position to know" (i.e. the law enforcement community) believed that the proposed law would lead to significant threats to public safety."

Furthermore, at no surprise to Wayne County residents, close suburban politicos also negatively chimed in to the public discourse with unflattering commentary. Oakland County Chief Executive Officer, L. Brooks Patterson, was quoted as saying, "I'm going to take down my Oakland County sign and say Welcome to Dodge City."

Also, Oakland County Prosecutor Dave Gorcyca, best known lately - perhaps - for providing job finding assistance for a convicted bank robber and his unrelenting prosecution of a teacher despite a lack of compelling evidence, resigned from his county gun board in protest.

In fact, a newspaper survey that was conducted at that time found that 15 Michigan county prosecutors - in total - resigned from their local gun boards in protest of the new law. In Wayne County, Prosecutor Mike Duggan, who once quipped, "When a person gets up and pulls on his pants and straps on his gun without a thought, that person is a potential murderer before the end of the day," also resigned. Fortunately, for the benefit of Wayne County residents, Duggan is no longer in law enforcement; he found a well paying job with the DMC hospital system.

A quick comparison of the old statute and the current law under PA 381 shows that the requirements to get a CPL were significantly tightened. For example, under the old statute an applicant had to be only 18 years old. Currently, an applicant has to be at least 21 years of age.

Also, under the old system an applicant could not have had committed a felony within the last eight years preceding his application for a CPL. In contrast, the current statute does not allow anyone with a felony conviction committed at any time to get a CPL.

The biggest change in the law was undeniably the elimination of a “demonstration of need” for the CPL. Effectively, it removed almost all of the discretionary power of the gun boards. Essentially, the law as it exists now is uniform throughout the state. Thus, any individual, regardless of his county of residence, shall be issued a CPL if he meets the statutory requirements.

Many people in my community don't have a favorable opinion about the legacy of former Michigan Governor John Engler. I, for one, am very happy about his legacy on "this" issue.

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Michigan Concealed Pistol License: Four Reasons To Avoid The "Hook-up"

In Michigan, there is a vibrant and thriving black market for Course Completion Cetificates for the Basic Pistol Safety Training Course. The aforementioned certificate attests that an applicant has met Michigan's educational and shooting requirements for a Michigan Concealed Pistol License (CPL).

A CPL licensee is allowed to carry a concealed and loaded pistol on or about his person, whether inside or outside of a vehicle. If the CPL is restricted, the licensee must be sure not to carry in designated Pistol Free Zones. Obviously, the benefit of having a CPL - mostly the ability to defend oneself in a variety of environments - merits a lot of interest amongst the populace.

Despite the huge responsibilities associated with carrying a concealed firearm, a sizeable percentage of individuals, desiring to acquire a CPL, are not willing to lawfully meet the state's educational and shooting pre-requisites. Specifically, a CPL applicant must attend a qualified class that meets the following standards:

  • Covers "safe storage, use, and handling of a pistol including, but not limited to, safe storage, use and handling to protect a child"
  • Covers "ammunition knowledge and the fundamentals of pistol shooting"
  • Covers "pistol shooting positions"
  • Covers "firearms and the law, including civil liability issues and the use of deadly force"
  • Covers "avoiding criminal attack and controlling a violent confrontation"
  • Covers "all laws that apply to carrying a concealed pistol in this state"
  • Has "at least 8 hours instruction, including 3 hours of firing range time; which requires firing at least 30 rounds of ammunition"

Prospective CPL applicants who don't want to "go through the hassle" of attending an eight hour long class meeting the aforementioned requirements can find - without too much effort - a person who will readily supply them with a Course Completion Certificate for as little as $75. Prospective CPL licensees, contemplating a short-cut in the CPL application process, should avoid the "hook-up" for several reasons.

First and foremost, it is a felonious crime for a prospective CPL applicant to knowingly submit a bogus Course Completion Certificate to a county gun board for CPL consideration. This offense is punishable by imprisonment not to exceed four years, a fine of not more than $2,500, or both.

Many people desiring to cut corners with the state's defined process wrongfully reason that the aforementioned crime would be a difficult offense for the state to prove against them. These myopic persons are not taking into account that their uneducated and untrained behavior with a firearm - possibly reckless - even with a state granted CPL might call into question their training.

If an investigation later reveals that they acquired their Course Completion Certificates falsely, then it is a relatively simple matter for them to be prosecuted for presenting a counterfeit certificate to the gun board.

In addition, it would also be within the gun board's purview to declare that the licensee's CPL is "null and void" retroactive to the date of issuance. Thus, that ruling could possibly subject the person to a Carrying A Concealed Weapon (CCW) charge; in the board's eye it would be as if offender never had a CPL. A CCW conviction is punishable by no more than five years of imprisonment or by a fine not to exceed $2,500.

The second reason why the "hook-up" should be avoided is that the prospective CPL licensee does not have any training in firearms law. Without this educational background, a person with a loaded firearm can find themselves in big trouble legally very quickly. This trouble can manifest itself in several ways: a murder charge, a manslaughter charge, civil litigation, and unnecessary harm from an assailant.

Lethal force is only authorized under a very narrow band of circumstances. If it is not used in accordance with the law, the violator can face criminal charges for either the unlawful wounding or killing of his "assailant." Moreover, it is also possible that the uneducated CPL licensee could also be successfully sued in civil court by his "victim" or his "victim's" estate for his unlawful actions, as viewed by the letter of the law.

Further still, an uneducated CPL licensee might use an inappropriate choice of ammunition for personal protection that could lead to criminal charges being filed for the shooting of an unintended victim due to the "overpenetration" of the intended target. The rule of law known as "transfer of intent" could apply to the uneducated CPL licensee with disastrous consequences: murder charges and a civil suit.

If all of the above reasons were not enough to convince a prospective CPL licensee to get the permit lawfully, there is yet another consideration to ponder. An untrained CPL licensee might be subjected to a scenario in which he is about to be attacked by an assailant. If there is any doubt as to the legality of the CPL's possible responses, the CPL licensee might hesitate to take action for fear of later reprisals by the law. Thus, the CPL licensee may be unnecessarily harmed, by an assailant, because of his ignorance of the law.

Thus far, it has been shown that a "hook-up" could lead to the following legal sanctions: a felonious charge of submitting a bogus certificate to a gun board, a CCW charge, a murder charge for the shooting of a "victim," a murder charge for the shooting of an intended target, and a civil lawsuit. Further, an uneducated CPL licensee could also be unnecessarily harmed due to his ignorance of what he can legally do during a violent encounter.

The negative consequences associated with getting a CPL under a "hook-up" is not worth the time saved from not taking one eight long class. No other classes are required - even when it is time to renew the permit five years later. If a person wants to get a CPL it is in his best interests to do it within the state's proscribed process.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Reminder: FREE CCW Tuition Offer Expires Noon Tomorrow!

Hello again!

I just wanted to give you a "fair warning" that the deadline
for taking advantage of our FREE CCW Tuition offer expires
tomorrow at 12 noon!

If you recall, we are going to refund the class tuition price
for one student in our class to be held on Saturday, October 11!
To participate in this exciting promotion, you must register
by paying the tuition, in full, by 12 noon tomorrow at the
following link:

The class will be held at the following location:
Southfield Hampton Inn Conference Room
27500 Northwestern Hwy
Southfield, MI 48075

There is a 15 seat limit on this class. Also, I am making
this very same offer to my friends on Facebook, former students
who have referral leads, and my LinkedIn contacts. Furthermore,
Friday is payday for many folks, so the several - yet still
open - seats are expected to be filled quickly!

I am confident this offer will draw significant interest
from folks who have been dragging their feet as to when
they were going to register for this class.

If you have any interest at all in getting a Michigan
Concealed Pistol License, don't delay. Register now!

You must register by 12 noon tomorrow to be in the drawing!
If you just happen to be the only person, who paid in full
by the deadline, then you win automatically! You will be the
winner even if the class is full from students registering
after the deadline!

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact me.


C. Rick Ector, Chief Instructor

Rick's Firearm Academy of Detroit
Address: POB 805, Sterling Hts, MI 48311
PH: 313.733.7404



BELLEVUE, WA – The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms today applauded a new joint University of Michigan – University of Maryland study that says gun shows do not contribute to higher murder or suicide rates.

“We’ve known all along that gun shows are not the arms bazaars for criminals and lunatics that anti-gunners have claimed,” said CCRKBA Legislative Director Joe Waldron. “This important research has now confirmed that such gatherings are not connected to homicide or suicide rates. The study reinforces earlier research done for the Department of Justice that found less than one percent of armed felons get their guns from gun shows.

“Gun control lobbyists are already claiming the report is flawed,” he continued. “What else would they say about research that demolishes one of their most hysteria-driven platforms? The tide is turning on the gun rights issue, because research trumps rhetoric every time.”

The study, released Wednesday by the UM’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, compared data from Texas and California, two markedly different states. Researchers gathered crime and suicide data from the periods surrounding more than 3,400 gun shows to determine that restrictive regulations had no impact on murder or suicide rates in the month following those gun shows.

“This research punches a gaping hole in the argument by gun control fanatics that a mythical ‘gun show loophole’ contributes to crime and suicide,” Waldron stated. “Thanks to this study, the anti-gun rights lobby loses another cornerstone of its agenda. For years, no matter what the crime, gun banners have invariably reacted by suggesting that added restrictions on gun shows would somehow have prevented it.

“As our friends at the Michigan Gun Owners have noted, we wonder why it took someone this long to conduct such a study,” Waldron noted. “Our hats are off to the UM’s Prof. Brian Jacob, along with the University of Maryland’s Randi Hjalmarsson and Mark Duggan. Theirs is a significant accomplishment.”


Wednesday, October 1, 2008