Lawmakers consider concealed carry for gun owners without permit

People are talking about a controversial bill that would allow state residents to carry a concealed pistol without a permit.

Gun owners who don't have a concealed pistol license can legally open-carry a firearm but the moment that gun is covered up with a jacket or shirt, they break the law. That's just one reason why some state lawmakers want to change our current gun laws.

FOX 2: "Should people be able to carry a concealed pistol without a CPL?"

"I don't think so," said Bruce Cassidy. "There needs to be some checks and balances in any area."

"I think so," said another man. "There are still background checks that need to be conducted."

And soon, that debate will be had on the state House floor where lawmakers will vote on a four bill package that takes aim at concealed pistol licenses.

The eight-hour class to obtain a CPL would no longer be required to carry a concealed firearm.

"That training is still going to be available," said State Rep. Michele Hoitenga (R-Manton). "But at least now people will have a choice. Mainly if you're an older person, if you're financially strapped and you can't afford the classes, you cannot afford the permitting process, you have to renew that every few years.

"It's a long process and a lot of people can't afford that and they should not be denied their Second Amendment right to protect themselves."

Background checks for gun purchases would remain in place if the package is approved. And people who are not legally able to carry a gun would still be barred from doing so.

Even so, Democrats are slamming the plan and law enforcement organizations have deep reservations.

"We're going to come up on somebody and there's no requirement for them to tell us they have a gun," said Lt. Michael Shaw, Michigan State Police. "So if we're going along and actually the trooper notices the bulge in their clothes, it's going to escalate really quickly before anybody really has a chance to do anything."

Blaine Koops from the Michigan Sheriffs' Association is against the legislation in its current form because it will allow people to carry concealed firearms with no training - saying: "We are a society of rights and responsibilities. We can't have one without the other."

Gun rights advocate and instructor Rick Ector weighed in as well.

"Here's the thing about rights and responsibilities, with those rights come that responsibility," he said. "And if you do not behave responsibly you can and should and possibly will be held accountable."

Ector says he's not concerned about the legislation running him out of a job.

"In other states in which they've gone Constitutional Carry the actual market for training increased," he said.

Gun owners would still need a CPL to carry their firearms in others states that have reciprocity agreements with Michigan.

This bill still has a long way to go, the House has to vote on it, then the Senate and finally Gov. Snyder has to sign off on it.

A spokesman says Snyder would have to review the legislation closely if it passes.