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.

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