Michigan Eliminates it's so-called Pistol 'Safety' Inspection
Commentary by Steve Dulan
The way we handle post-purchase paperwork for pistols will be changing. New legislation amending Public Act 372, co-sponsored by 4 members of the MCRGO Board of Directors (Representatives Sheltrown and Casperson and Senators Cropsey and Richardville) among others, was signed into law last week by the Governor. The new rules (paraphrased for clarity) are as follows:
The so-called "safety inspection" is eliminated. The seller of a pistol shall immediately record the sale on a 4-part (quadruplicate) form provided by the Department of State Police, which the purchaser shall sign. One copy is kept by the seller. One copy is kept by purchaser. Two copies are sent to the police department or county sheriff within 10 days. The forms can be hand-delivered or sent by first-class or certified mail (I recommend certified and hang onto your receipts.) Failure to comply with this rule is civil infraction punishable by a fine of $250 maximum. Violations will also be reported to the state police and the county gun board.
The police agency will forward one copy to the state police within 48 hours, and keep the other for at least 6 years. The state police will enter the information into the computer data base within 10 days of receiving it. The purchaser has a right to get a copy of the information that is entered to verify the accuracy of the information. The police or sheriff's department can charge a fee of $1.00 maximum for the copy. The purchaser has to keep his/her copy of the form while carrying or using the pistol for the first 30 days after purchase. After that time, the form need not be carried.
This law takes effect January 7th, 2009. Public Acts No. 194, 195, 196.
I've had the opportunity to hear and read many comments on this law, including during a recent visit to the Multi Lakes Conservation Club, where I was honored to be welcomed as a representative of MCRGO and hear questions and comments. Some of the comments expressed disappointment that we still have pistol registration. While it is true that this legislation, like most legislation, has gone through changes from the original proposed law, it is still a victory for gun owners. Even though we didn't get everything on our wish list, our friends in the legislature have managed to eliminate the ridiculous "safety inspection." Now, we don't have to make that trip down to the police station to hold the gun up to the bullet-proof glass for a clerk to copy down the serial number.
Keep in mind that there are legislators who are not at all supportive of gun rights and would just as soon increase our inconvenience and expense rather than make things better for gun owners. Politics in a representative democracy is the art of the possible. While this new law still requires registration, that has been a fact of life for a couple of generations in Michigan. At least we don't have to make that post-purchase trip to the police station anymore once this new law takes effect.
In fact, for those with a CPL (Concealed Pistol License), no trip to the police/sheriff's department is required. The seller simply records the CPL license information on the form and the new owner signs and submits the forms by mail. This is much more efficient and less time-consuming than the old system.
Those of us who think logically about this issue know that the central fallacy of all gun control law is the idea that criminals will obey gun control laws while ignoring other laws. However, we still have a long way to go in convincing our fellow citizens and arriving at a consensus on this issue. Since being elected to the MCRGO Board of Directors a few years back, I've had numerous discussions with gun owners about this simple truth. The best suggestion I have for all of us is to continue to engage gun control advocates in calm, reasoned debate. The truth is on our side of this argument. But, being correct is not sufficient. We have to sway our fellow citizens.
They key area of agreement on both sides of the gun control debate is the desire for safety. Some of our neighbors are lacking in experience with, and knowledge of guns. Why not invite a few anti-gunners to the range? Let them see how a well-run range is one of the safest places on Earth. Let them see that we gun owners are thoughtful, solid citizens. Give them the opportunity to realize that guns are useful in their lives for self-defense and recreation. If we want to further improve the legal and public policy system regarding guns, we need to win more hearts and minds so that our allies in the legislature can continue to push the law more into line with common sense.
In short, instead of complaining that the glass is still half empty, let's congratulate our legislators for successfully pouring a little more water into it even as some of their colleagues were attempting to jostle their collective elbow.