Here is our complete analysis of SB 442 S-2 and SB 561 S-1 as they were reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday (Tuesday 10/13).
For those not aware, SB 561 was introduced by Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof the morning before the hearing as a companion bill to SB 442 introduced by Senator Mike Green. Both bills came up in committee and were amended with changes not fully made available to the public until the next day. The bills are now tie-bared together, meaning neither can become law without the other, effectively making them a "package".
SB 442 S-2 is now a much better bill, while SB 561 S-1 is almost completely gun control. However, they must be taken together as they are tie-bared. Essentially the package is a two bill package that works in a yin yang'ish manner. You can read our original analysis here if you would like to compare.
Open Carry Ban (Result - Improved Slightly) - Together the bills still ban Open Carry in specific zones, but the ban isn't as far reaching and is done in a better way. The ban was moved from SB 442, which amends 28.425o, to SB 561, which amends 750.234d and 750.237a. On a positive note, Open Carry is no longer explicitly banned outright but rather Concealed Carry is now required. While there is no functional difference, Open Carry would still be left out of our laws, which MOC prefers. Next, while the list of places OC would be prohibited in would be different, those changes are mitigated.
Confusing Nature of Ban (Result - Improved Greatly) - While the introduced version of 442 created a situation where an officer could detain someone to make sure they are NOT licensed, the amended package eliminates the issue. The issue came about due to the difference between different lists of zones and which one specifically OC was banned in. The amended package changes things by bringing the two lists more in line with each other and switching which list OC is prohibited in. For instance, the establishments licensed to sell liquor zone in 750.234d would be changed to the "bar" definition from 28.425o, thus narrowing the scope of the prohibited zone. Further, the entertainment facility zone in 28.425o would be changed to "theater" to match the zone in 750.234d and narrow the prohibited zone. Another positive result of this change would be people who OC without a CPL would be able to do so in more places like grocery stores and gas stations.
Penalties (Result - Far Worse) - SB 442 as introduced punished OC from a $500 civil fine and a 6 month license suspension for the first offense to a 4 year felony for the third offense. The new package is much, much worse. SB 561 punishes OC with a 90-93 day misdemeanor, $1,000-2,000 fine, and an 8 year CPL disqualification for the first offense. It would also be a 1 year felony for a second offense in a school. Further, these penalties come with zero protection for accidental exposure or printing AND the prohibited zones will include parking lots. SB 561 S-1 as amended has the potential to cause someone whose gun is exposed as they get out of their vehicle to face a misdemeanor and 8 year loss of their license, regardless of intent.
Nonresidents are Screwed (Result - No Change) - The ability to conceal will still only apply to Michigan residents with the exemption. As long as SB 442 requires an exempt Michigan CPL in order to CC, this will not change and people from another state will have zero legal methods to carry in these zones.
No Protection for Printing/Accidental Exposure (Result - Far Worse) - SB 442 as introduced at least attempted to protect gun owners and address printing and accidental exposure, even though we believed the protections were insufficient. SB 561 doesn't even make an attempt and contains ZERO protections. Combined with the severe punishments above, this is very concerning.
Overall for the Package (Worse) - While some improvements have been made that we support, like not specifically banning OC and bringing 750.234d and 28.425o more in line with each other, we believe the overall state of the package is now worse than SB 442 alone as introduced. The overall sloppy nature and lack of attention to detail in SB 561 creates very serious pitfalls for gun owners and only further undermines our confidence in the sponsors. SB 561 as introduced was not even tie-barded which could have resulted in a near total anti-gun bill unburdened by any pro-gun reforms. Luckily the committee caught and fixed the sponsor's oversight.
We hope that our concerns will be addressed before the full Senate votes on the bills, but until that happens, MOC will continue to oppose these bills as much if not more than before. That said, we do expect more improvements to be made and at least some of our concerns to be addressed. We will update you if that happens.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.