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Gun rights groups want state to ditch permits for concealed carry

user Ben Re

Gun rights are up for debate in the state Legislature, again.

A set of bills to get rid of the requirement to carry a permit in order to carry a concealed pistol was up in front of a House committee Tuesday.

Advocates say the legislation is long overdue and the legislation wouldn’t take away the regulations on who can carry a firearm.

But opponents say it erodes gun safety.

“I think it’s really important to keep that in place and not just do away with it and let anyone and everyone that wants to have a weapon have a weapon,” said Democratic Representative and chair of the Gun Violence Prevention caucus Robert Wittenberg.

Supporters say there is already no permit required for open carry of a firearm. They call the concealed weapon permit requirement a “coat tax”. Because once you put your coat on, you need to purchase a permit.

Republican Representative Michele Hoitenga is a bill sponsor. She said the current differences between open carry and conceal carry are confusing.

“Anyone without the background checks can already carry, so it’s no different,” she said. “The only thing that is making it different is this one millimeter piece of clothing.”

But some members of law enforcement are not on board.

David Hiller is with the Fraternal Order of Police. He said their organization, “strongly opposes” the legislation in large part because it gets rid of gun training requirements.

“So to put a firearm in the hands of someone with no required training to us is absolutely absurd,” he said.

Supporters counter that many who want a firearm will want and get training on their own without a permit requirement. 

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R