Wednesday, September 29, 2010

7 Facts About A Michigan Concealed Pistol License (CCW/CPL)That You Probably Didn't Know

Almost everyone knows that a state of Michigan issued Concealed Pistol License (i.e. CPL) - sometimes incorrectly referred to as a CCW - allows the named person to possess a concealed handgun "on or about his person." However, there are quite a few things about a CPL that you probably don't know. This post will reveal seven facts about a CPL that many people do not know.
  • Fact 1: A Temporary License Can Be Issued To An Applicant
  • Some County Gun Boards are ridiculously slow in their processing of CPL applications. In fact, just yesterday a person who applied for one back in March of this year contacted me on Facebook to ask my opinion on the timeliness of the Gun Board.

    I told her that her application may have been already approved and her notification got lost or wasn't sent out; it happens a lot. Accordingly, I told her to do what many others had done - go down to the County Clerk's Office and inquire about her status. In cases such as this in the past, the applicant was given the CPL on the spot.

    However, sometimes the County Gun Board is embarrassingly slow in the processing of the application. If contacted, the Gun Board will just tell the applicant that there is nothing that can be done but wait. In reality, PA 381 of 2000, states that if the Gun Board does not render an answer in a reasonable period of time under certain circumstances, the applicant shall be issued a temporary CPL. Of course, applicants don't know this fact and Gun Boards don't like to follow the statute which states:

    If the fingerprint comparison report is not received by the concealed weapon licensing board within 30 days after the fingerprint report is forwarded to the department of state police by the federal bureau of investigation, the concealed weapon licensing board shall issue a temporary license to carry a concealed pistol to the applicant if the applicant is otherwise qualified for a license. A temporary license issued under this section is valid for 180 days or until the concealed weapon licensing board receives the fingerprint comparison report provided under subsection (11) and issues or denies issuance of a license to carry a concealed pistol as otherwise provided under this act. Upon issuance or the denial of issuance of the license to carry a concealed pistol to an applicant who received a temporary license under this section, the applicant shall immediately surrender the temporary license to the concealed weapon licensing board that issued that temporary license.

    If the County Gun Board balks at issuing you a temporary CPL, you can force the issue by filing a civil suit in the local Circuit Court and have a judge interpret the law or you can just wait. The choice is yours.

  • Fact 2: A Rejected CPL Applicant Can Contest His Ineligiblity
  • Sometimes an applicant for a CPL is rejected on a judgement call by the Gun Board. Depending on the facts, an appeal can be made that will result in the awarding of the CPL to the applicant. Ultimately, an application's rejection by the Gun Board can be contested at the local Circuit Court whereby a judge can decide if the applicant shall be given the CPL. Furthermore, if the preceding rejection was determined to be "arbitrary and capricious" the judge can award the applicant court costs and attorney fees. So, if an applicant is initially rejected on a "coin-flip" decision, all is not lost. The applicant should consult with an attorney experienced in this area for a case evaluation.

  • Fact 3: A Person's CPL Status Is In The State's LEIN System
  • If you are ever pulled over for a traffic stop, the law enforcement officer will know that you were issued a CPL, if he looks up either your Driver's License or your vehicle's license plate in the Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN) System.

    Despite this fact, a person with a CPL who is actively carrying a concealed firearm "on or about his person" still has a duty to inform the officer of his CPL status and the location of his firearm.

    In counties where the local Gun Board delivers questionable service, it is not uncommon for law enforcement officers on a traffic stop to inform the driver that he was issued a CPL.

  • Fact 4: A Michigan CPL Is Recognized In 35 Other States
  • The State of Michigan has Concealed Carry Reciprocity Agreements with 35 other states. In Michigan, those agreements are negotiated by the Attorney General. The complete list is maintained by his office and can be viewed on his official web site.

    The key thing to know about visiting other reciprocal states with your concealed firearm is that the laws are probably different than Michigan's. So before you go, jump on the Internet and do your research. Ignorance of the law is no excuse for running afoul of it.

  • Fact 5: A Fraudulently Obtained CPL Is Null And Void Retroactive To Issuance
  • It is a felony, punishable by four years of imprisonment, a $2,500 fine, or both to knowingly present a fraudulent Basic Pistol Safety Training Class Certificate to a County Gun Board. If this offense is discovered, the CPL of the named person is null and void retroactive to the date of issuance. In short, in the eyes of the law the CPL was never issued and could result in criminal charges for the Carrying of a Concealed Weapon -another felony.

  • Fact 6: A CPL Can Allow You To Legally Open Carry In A State Defined Pistol-Free Zone
  • Michigan Attorney General Opinion #7097 penned by Jennifer Granholm on January 11, 2002 states in part:
    By its express terms, section 234d prohibits certain persons from carrying a firearm in the enumerated places but explicitly exempts from its prohibition "[a] person licensed by this state or another state to carry a concealed weapon." Thus, any person licensed to carry a concealed pistol, including a private investigator, is exempt from the gun-free zone restrictions imposed by section 234d of the Penal Code and may therefore possess firearms while on the types of premises listed in that statute.

    Do keep in mind, however, that private property rights over-rule a CPL-holder's right to Open Carry in a state of Michigan enumerated Pistol-Free Zone. Thus, the owner of a bar or a church, for example, can tell you to take a hike if they object to your openly carried handgun.

  • Fact 7: A CPL Eliminates The Need For A 10-Day Purchase Permit
  • A CPL simplifies the handgun buying process, as a licensee does not need to go to his/her local law enforcement department to obtain a 10-Day Pistol Purchase Permit by undergoing a background check and completing a 15 question Basic Pistol Safety Training Questionnaire.

    Instead the buyer can just go to either a gun dealer or find a private seller. If the seller is a private party, the buyer would be wise to visit the state of Michigan's web site to download a Michigan Pistol Sales Record Form to lawfully document the transfer of ownership of the handgun. Additionally, the buyer has to complete the process by having his pistol purchase documented with his local law enforcement within five days.

    If you have a desire to learn more about Michigan firearms law, the Michigan CPL, and personal protection, sign up for our Rick's Firearm Academy of Detroit Newsletter. It's published weekly, free of charge, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

    Sunday, September 5, 2010

    Why The Detroit Police Department's Gun "Buy-Back" Was A Failure

    Last Thursday, the Detroit Police Department (DPD) conducted a gun "buy-back" program at a local church - Second Ebenezer Church. It was reported in the local media that 800 firearms were turned in, with no questions being asked by law enforcement officers, and that sellers were compensated $50 for firearms that were operational and were given $25 for those that were incapable of firing. Predictably, DPD announced that the program was a success. This post will explain why the program was a failure.

    DPD's gun "buy-back" program was a failure before it even started. The basic premise behind this scheme is false. The police want you to believe that if it buys back guns it never owned in the first place that the city of Detroit will be safer. Nothing could be further from the truth. Gun buy-back programs do not affect crime rates. Accordingly, the violent crime that Detroiters witness daily will continue.

    Gun buy-back programs only serve one purpose: it shows that the police are doing something. It doesn't matter that the program will not change things. It is more politically effective to show citizens that the police are hard at work getting guns off the street. It just might make citizens forget that the Interim DPD Chief was allegedly involved in scandal with one of his subordinates.

    Interim DPD Chief Ralph Godbee was quoted as saying the following, "Every gun turned in will be destroyed and is one less gun that is stolen during a home invasion." Apparently, it never dawned on him that those very same guns could be used for self-defense to shoot home-invaders, especially since DPD's officially published response time of 28 minutes is woefully inadequate.

    Further, gun buy-back programs send an erroneous message to the general public. Detroit's crime problem is not caused by guns; crime is caused by criminals. A firearm is only a tool. Obviously, a firearm in the possession of a criminal is a bad thing. However, a gun in the hands of a law-abiding citizen is a threat to no one other than criminals.

    It is pure folly to suggest or to imply that any criminals turned in their firearms during the buy-back program. Regretably, many "gun widows" and some misinformed citizens were the only folks turning in their guns. Thus, the city of Detroit was made less safe. There are now fewer firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens to defend themselves.

    Violent crime has been a persistent problem in Detroit for a long time. It requires real solutions that will foster better relationships between the community with police officers who to a large extent do not reside in the city, will not put citizens on hold when they call 9-1-1, and will decrease the woefully inadequate response time for the police to arrive.

    We do not need ineffective programs that do not change anything. Perhaps the only sillier crime fighting tactic that was recently deployed in Detroit was ex-DPD Chief Evans' program of towing cars of drivers with suspended Operators Licenses. Someone had told him that thirty percent of drive-by shooting were done by criminals who were driving illegally. On the very first day of that program a drive-by shooting occurred in the city.

    Finally, the biggest travesty of this gun buy-back scheme was that the program reportedly paid a person $50 for a Civil War era revolver. If you believe that gun was destroyed, I have some prime real estate in the Florida Everglades to sell you.