Ten years after [Michigan’s] concealed weapons law, unclear why many in the stat were gun shy.
After all that opposition, turns out there was no orgy of gun-crazed massacres.
Police are shocked.
10 years after concealed weapons law, unclear why many in state were gun-shy
1:39 AM, Jul. 31, 2011 | 187 Comments
Ten years after Michigan made it much easier for its citizens to get a license to carry a concealed gun, predictions of widespread lawless behavior and bloodshed have failed to materialize.
Today, nearly 276,000 – or about four out of every 100 eligible adult Michiganders – are licensed.
That’s more than twice the number predicted when the debate raged over whether Michigan should join the growing ranks of so-called “shall issue” states.
Before July 1, 2001, applicants had to prove why they needed to carry a gun for protection. Since then, any nominally sane adult without a felony record qualifies.
During the debate, opponents of the change warned of gun-toting, trigger-happy citizens loose on the streets.
But violent crimes have been rare among carrying a concealed weapon license holders. Only 2% of license holders have been sanctioned for any kind of misbehavior, State Police records show.
Still, anti-gun activists say changing the law was a grave mistake. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence Web site describes state reforms like the one enacted in Michigan as “a recipe for disaster.”
Michigan’s prosecuting attorneys association led the push against changing the law in 2001. Today, Ionia County Prosecutor Ronald Schafer, president of the group, says it’s hard to remember what the fuss was about.
"I think you can look back and say, ‘It was a big nothing.’ "
Concealed weapons haven’t changed state much, both sides of debate say
It was only 10 years ago. But it seems more like another lifetime, when one of the biggest issues facing Michigan’s politicians and the public was whether to make it easier for ordinary citizens to obtain permits to carry concealed weapons.
At the time, advocates and opponents raged, hurling arguments about bedrock constitutional freedoms and Columbine massacres on every corner.
The reformers – who wanted Michigan to join the growing number of states where carrying a concealed gun is the right of any nominally sane adult without a felony record – sneaked the legislation through in a lame duck session (and managed to immunize it from potential referendum). They predicted it would usher in a new era of civility as criminals came to realize they weren’t the only ones on the street packing heat.