Governor Snyder's 'Smart Justice' Improves The Risk/Reward Payoff For Armed Criminals
Michigan House Bills 4419/4420, Proposed Substitute H-3, gut Michigan’s 25 year old mandatory minimum sentences for crimes committed with firearms. Introduced by Republican Representative Kurt Heise (R-20th) of Plymouth and co-authored by 28 bleeding heart Republicans (4) and Democrats (24), these bills:
1. Convert Michigan’s long standing mandatory 2/5/10 year minimum sentences for criminals using firearms into maximum sentences2. Allow ‘use of firearms’ sentences to be served concurrently with the underlying crime sentences for the first time3. Allow prisoners serving ‘use of firearms’ sentences to be paroled prior to completing even these sentences
Now the proponents of ‘Smart Justice’ are telling the public that their effort will:
– reduce the number of ‘non violent prisoners’ held in Michigan prisons– reduce the price Michigan pays for incarceration
Michigan Law Enforces Obama's Latest 'Pen and Phone' Gun Control With Draconian Penalties
It turns out that the stealth U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives proposal to prohibit the most popular cartridge used by civilians in the AR-15, America’s most popular civilian rifle, will be enforced by draconian penalties in Michigan law. This prohibition will affect all owners of .223 Remington caliber rifles, not just the AR-15. BATFE has indicated that they are withdrawing a ‘sporting purpose’ exemption for the standard issue U.S. Military 5.56x45mm NATO (.223 Remington) cartridge, claiming that it is armor piercing handgun ammunition under the 1986 Law Enforcement Officer Protection Act.
Michigan legislators cloned LEOPA in 1990 with one important distinction. The Michigan statutory language actually prohibits any use of prohibited ammunition. From MCL 750.224c:
(1) Except as provided in subsection (2), a person shall not manufacture, distribute, sell, or use armor piercing ammunition in this state. A person who willfully violates this section is guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment for not more than 4 years, or by a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both.
‘Use’ includes loading a rifle magazine with prohibited ammunition or even firing it in a single shot rifle. The Federal LEOPTA at least allows gun owners to use up stocks of ammunition on hand when a cartridge is prohibited. A bunch of Michiganders are about to become felons if BATFE gets its way thanks to another triumph of legislative draftsmanship by our Legislature. Violating MCL 750.224c is a four year felony, a rude surprise to someone owning M855 ammunition. Perfectly legal one day, a felon the next. The joy of multilevel government regulation.
DNR just slyly reported that Michigan hunting license sales dropped to 729,000 in 2014, a 4.2% drop from 2013 sales and the all time low in data extending way back to 1958. This drop is even worse than the numbers suggest, since the new HB 4668 hunting license rules require base licenses for hunting activities which did not require licenses in previous years. And if you believe President Obama and his statistical mathmagicians, the U.S. economy surged at a 5% GDP growth rate in 2014Q3 just before Michigan’s traditional firearms deer season. Michigan’s population increased by 11,684 people in 2014, the third consecutive annual increase. So the number of hunters should have increased in 2014? But the number of hunters in Michigan dropped, and hunter numbers declined because license fees skyrocketed under HB 4668 of 2013.
The most popular hunting license prices increased 50 – 100 % under the new 2014 fee schedule, although a direct comparison is not possible because the licenses were restructured under HB 4668 to ‘simplify’ the license schedule. Even though the DNR has not released license sales dollar amounts yet, we can still sketch out the doleful effect of the DNR hunting license fee increases on Michigan’s staggering economy.
Politicians of all stripes are rooting around for fresh money to fulfill past, present, and future promises lately, figuring that the economy is so hot that their depredations will go unnoticed and have no consequences. Let’s take a look at a Michigan example: the increase in license fees for hunting and fishing which the Legislature authorized in 2013 and which took effect in 2014.
The most popular hunting and fishing license prices doubled under the new fee schedule, although a direct comparison is not possible because the licenses were restructured to ‘simplify’ the license schedule. Governor Snyder’s goal for these increases was to raise an additional $ 18.1 million dollars annually for the DNR. The Senate Fiscal Agency benchmarked the anticipated annual increase at $ 19.7 million.
These are fees, paid voluntarily, so why should we care? Only taxes matter? The State of Michigan has been reducing the amount of money appropriated to the DNR from tax revenues since 2000, a reduction that now amounts to about 70%. So fees are now required to replace taxes. A common story across the United States. Fees play better with voters than taxes.
Michigan Open Carry, Inc’s attempt to define what it means to “brandish” in Michigan has resulted in a veto from Governor Snyder, though the situation is complicated and not as bad as it sounds. Read on for the full story.