Sunday, December 20, 2009

Seven Questions Michigan County Gun Boards Like To Ask CPL Applicants

For many state of Michigan Concealed Pistol License (CPL) applicants, the submission of the application package (i.e. official application, proof of gun safety training, fingerprint scans, and etc.) will be the last contact applicants will have with their respective County Gun Board until they are notified of an approval or a rejection.

However, residents in a handful of Michigan counties will have the additional hurdle of making an appearance before the County Gun Board to answer a few questions about their submission.

With the adoption of PA 381 of 2000, CPL licensing was standardized across the state. Accordingly, much of the previously held discretionary authority County Gun Boards have has been drastically minimized. In fact, many County Gun Boards do not require an appearance at all due to the fact that an applicant's eligibility can be readily determined via a criminal background check and a query of public records.

This article will specify questions which may be asked during an pre-licensure appearance before a Michigan County Gun Board.

Question 1: Why Do You Want A CPL?
The correct answer to this question is "Personal Protection." It is a truthful response to the question that is self-explanatory. Nothing else needs to be said. Any other response given by the CPL applicant to this question during a Gun Board appearance opens the door for further discussion and scrutiny of your motives.

Question 2: Do You Have Any Problems With Anybody?
If you have not had any documented incidents with another person, the answer to this question is "No." A documented incident would include, but is not limited to, a 9-1-1 call and a Personal Protection Order. No one knows with any level of certainty if a particular "issue" or an incident with another person is serious enough to merit discussion at a Gun Board appearance. Moreover, if the circumstances was truly serious there would be some official documentation on file with the authorities.

Question 3: Have You Ever Been Arrested For A Felony?
This question is obviously an interesting one to be asked during a Gun Board appearance because they are already informed as to the contents of your background. A felony conviction that has not been set-aside will disqualify an applicant for licensure. Every CPL applicant undergoes a rigorous criminal history check by the Federal Bureau of Investigations. Answer the question truthfully. Be mindful that an arrest is not the same thing as a conviction. A mere arrest does not disqualify an applicant for a CPL.

Question 4: Have You Ever Been Arrested For Anything Else?
As mentioned before, a mere arrest is not grounds for a CPL rejection. Any arrest info in your background will show up during your criminal history check. Honestly answer the question - yes or no - and await their next question. Do not volunteer to share any info about your past that will serve to unnecessarily extend the time needed for your appearance before the Gun Board. The purpose of your appearance is not a popularity contest. You need only demonstrate that you meet CPL licensing requirements.

Question 5: Have You Ever Had A Mental Illness?
Unless you have ever been officially diagnosed with "clinical depression" or another specified mental illness by a qualified mental health professional, the answer to the question is "No." Evidence of a mental illness condition is grounds for a CPL rejection. Please be mindful that there is a huge difference between "depression" and "clinical depression" and only qualified health pros can make that determination. Thus, a self-diagnosis of yourself as being "depressed" does not have any legal standing with regards to your qualification for a CPL.

Question 6: Is There A Current Protection Order Against You?
Under federal law, the Lautenberg Amendment to the 1968 Gun Control Act, persons with an active Personal Protection Order (PPO) against them are forbidden from possessing a firearm. Thus, if you have an active PPO against you, your CPL application will be rejected. Curiously enough, the Gun Board should be aware of your status. Truthfully answer the question.

Question 7: Have You Ever Taken Out A PPO Against Someone?
If you are asked this question, the County Gun Board is attempting to get you to reveal info about your lifestyle which may open up a line of questioning about your motives. Obviously, PPOs are recorded publicly; if you have ever taken a PPO out against another person, it is safe to assume that they know about it. Answer the question honestly, directly, and tersely. Unless asked, there is no need to deliver a speech as to your specific circumstances.

Bottom Line:
Gun Board appearances as a part of the CPL licensing process is largely a symbolic gesture, as an applicant's qualifications can be readily determined from a criminal background check and a check of public records. If you have been notified of a pending pre-licensure appearance before a County Gun Board, you probably have been approved.

However, do not take your appearance lightly. Gun Boards still have the ability to not bestow CPLs to persons who may present a danger to themselves and other people. Thus, you should keep your responses short and on topic to any questions presented. If you successfully manage to not open up any unnecessary areas of your background and motives, your chances of having your application approved are enhanced.

You are strongly encouraged to not only conduct your own independent research but to also consult with a competent and qualified attorney before acting upon any information in this article. Laws covering self-defense, lethal force, firearms, and the Michigan Concealed Pistol License and their enforcement are always subject to change due to laws being amended, politics conducted in the Prosecutor's Office, and election results at all levels of government. Ignorance of the law, legally speaking, is not a valid excuse for running afoul of it. The penalties and fines imposed upon violators of firearms related offenses are stiff and severe.

About The Author
Rick Ector is a National Rifle Association credentialed Firearms Trainer, who provides Michigan CCW Class training in Detroit for students at his firearms school - Rick's Firearm Academy of Detroit.

Ector is a recognized expert in firearm safety and has been featured extensively in the national and local media: Associated Press, UPI, NRAnews, Guns Digest, Tactical-Life, The Truth About Guns, The Politics Daily, Fox News Detroit, The Detroit News, The Detroit Examiner, WJLB, WGPR, and the UrbanShooterPodcast.

For more info about free shooting lessons for women and Michigan CCW Classes, please contact:

Rick's Firearm Academy of Detroit
Phone: 313.733.7404

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks, I was looking for some time trying to locate a blog on this topic. I'll be needing to go before the board in Macomb soon and I feel more at ease about it.