New Gun Law: No Danger For Domestic Abuse Victims?

March 26, 2015 Abuse and Neglect Attorney

In January, we wrote an article about the proposed gun bill that Governor Snyder had chosen to veto in the interest of keeping domestic violence victims safer. The reasons for his decision were because Senate Bills 789 and 790 proposed to make modifications to the Michigan concealed carrying laws. The changes could have affected the wording in personal protection orders issued by the court. The possible result: gun permits issued to individuals accused of assaulting their partners.At the time, the Governor explained in a letter to lawmakers that he actually liked many aspects of the proposed bills. But he couldn’t get past that one sticking point. In an astoundingly fast turn around, however, the bills were modified and reintroduced as Senate Bills 34 and 35.The new versions gave careful consideration to the particular issue of possible violence against domestic abuse victims. They put in place a blanket prohibition against concealed permit licenses for the subjects of personal protection orders.Governor Snyder signed the bills into law on March 4, 2015. The new law eliminates county gun boards and instead reallocates the responsibility of running background checks and processing the applications of individuals applying for CPLs to the Michigan State Police (MSP) and to county clerks.Both the House and the Senate gave their approval to these changes in what was an overwhelmingly Republican vote. The Governor pointed out that he has great faith in the MSP and that this will allow for consistency across the state, which was one of the issues raised by the bills backers – the local “eyeball test.”According to Representatives who supported the bills, allowing local officials to look someone over and deny them a permit on the grounds that they looked unworthy was an issue. Detractors, however, feel that this is exactly why this change is a bad idea. Eliminating the local authority, they say, who may have information about the person applying that wouldn’t necessarily show up on a standard background check, eliminates a valuable resource.Modern technology has drastically changed the way criminal background and fingerprint checks are conducted. According to sponsoring Senator Mike Green, this change in the law will bring Michigan up to national standards. We were the last remaining state in the country to use gun boards to review applicants applying for a concealed pistol license.