Michigan lawmaker: ‘Criminals ignore gun-free zones’

Michigan State Rep. Beau LaFave has introduced four pieces of gun reform legislation. (YouTube screen snip)

A freshman Michigan state representative has introduced four pieces of gun reform legislation that would expand carry rights for law-abiding armed citizens, explaining in language everyone should understand, “As it turns out, criminals are ignoring pistol-free zones.”

“I wish that were not the case,” Upper Peninsula Republican Beau LaFave added, “but we do not live in a Utopia. If the bad guys are going to carry guns into gun-free zones, I want to give the good guys the legal ability to protect themselves and their families.”

LaFave recently unveiled House Bills 4851, 4852, 4853 and 4854. The bill package was referred to the state House Judiciary Committee in Lansing.

According to UPMatters.com, LaFave observed that, “If you have a background check, you did the training, you have fingerprints on file with the FBI and you’ve got your permit, why in the world are we disarming people that are law abiding citizens?”

That’s a question none of his colleagues in the state capitol have been rushing to microphones to answer. No gun control lobbying group has so far come forward to explain why, either.

LaFave was elected for the first time last fall. He represents the 108th legislative district, covering Delta, Dickinson and Menominee counties on the north shore of Lake Michigan. The Iron Mountain lawmaker called it a “disgrace” that “honest, law-abiding people are required to pay a fee and obtain a license from the government to exercise a right guaranteed in our constitution.”

As explained in a news release, “Under the four-bill legislative package, the current concealed pistol licensing structure will remain in place, allowing individuals who hold a CPL to continue to carry concealed pistols in other states with reciprocity. Unlicensed individuals will not be permitted to carry concealed in pistol-free zones, however, individuals who choose to obtain a CPL will be allowed to carry in restricted areas.”

Michigan has long recognized resident carry permits and licenses from other states. You must be a resident of the state in which the license/permit was issued for it to be honored in the Great Lakes State.

LaFave’s proposals could face stiff opposition from downstate Democrats, but this may make for some interesting politics, since Michigan surprised all the pundits and prognosticators in November when the state went to Donald Trump instead of Hillary Rodham Clinton as people expected. But LaFave offered an observation that may have been directed at anti-gun lawmakers.

“It’s time to eliminate undue burdens that have been placed on Michigan gun owners for far too long,” he said. “We must ensure that lawful people are not prosecuted for exercising a right laid out in the U.S. and Michigan constitutions.”

According to the most recent data on concealed pistol licenses from the Michigan State Police, there are currently more than 617,000 active CPLs in the state.

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