Legislation that would have eliminated background checks for people buying firearms from unlicensed sellers passed the Senate today but was amended to address some concerns of mayors and law enforcement. HB 5225 seeks to streamline the process for pistol permits by repealing the state’s “permit to purchase” system and eliminating the permit database maintained by the Michigan State Police. The S-3 version that was passed by the Senate retains the provision in law for a criminal background check and permitting by the police or a federal firearms dealer if there is a person-to-person transaction. The national Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition (including several Michigan mayors) had opposed this bill and praised the addition of this amendment. The permitting system that will now be retained has blocked 2,595 prohibited gun purchasers from buying handguns in 2011, according to the coalition. Without it, about 48 percent of Michigan handgun sales — the percentage conducted by unlicensed sellers — would take place with no background check, according to law enforcement authorities. The bill needs to receive concurrence in the House, then will go to the Governor.
Nikki Brown is Legislative Associate for the League handling economic development issues. She can be reached at [email protected] or 517-908-0305.