Firearms

Happy Deer in Michigan

Michigan Hunters Not So Happy

Happy Deer

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.

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Rotten Fish in Michigan

DNR Fee Increase Backfires

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.

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Brandishing Bills Vetoed

Article originally posted at www.miopencarry.org

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.

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Huron Valley School leaders think feelings trump State law on guns

Government officials breaking the law without care or regard

Article originally posted on Michigan Open Carry, Inc.

The Free Press today had an article about Huron Valley schools and open carry.  In the article, Huron Valley Superintendent Baker is quoted as saying:

“I am grateful he went to the building administrator and told that principal what he planned on doing in advance,” Baker said. “I’ve had multiple conversations with (the parent), he’s talked with the building administrators, and he’s been very forthright, in some regards very progressive, and I appreciate that. He didn’t just show up unannounced. But that doesn’t change the way I feel about the law.

I for one am tired of Government types making up rules that they expect us to live by, but when the rules become an inconvenience for them or their jobs, then they feel the rules can be ignored.  For people who have been paying attention for these past 200 years, this shouldn’t be something that is a surprise.

The US Constitution is supposed to be the highest law of the land.  It was designed not to restrict what people can do, but rather restrict what the people that call themselves the Government can do.  Indeed, the Constitution creates only two prohibition against individuals:

  • Don’t commit Treason
  • Slavery

The word “Constitution” has the word “constitute” as a base word.  The document was intended to be an outline of what constitutes the US Federal Government and its powers.  But as we all know, our governments (Federal, State, Local) haven’t been good at heeding their own laws — even the Constitution.

Circa 1870 Lysander Spooner wrote this of the US Constitution in his essay No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority:

But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain – that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.

It should be of no surprise the people in the Government are breaking and ignoring the rules (rules that people in the Government made).  They’ve been doing it a very long time.  Like the US Constitution, Michigan’s Firearm Preemption Law has no “teeth”, no consequences for those who break it.  That is why it is so important that HB 5500 becomes law.

Sadly, it seems House Judiciary Chair, Kevin Cotter (R) has no intentions to let the bil out of committee before the end of the legislative session this December.  Given the law stalled at its first step on a long path, it’s doubtful it’ll become law this session and with this Governor.

There is an answer to the tyranny of schools like Huron Valley though.  If the State legislature won’t address the problem, Michigan Open Carry, Inc. will seek redress in court.  We are seeking to prosecute a K12 school very shortly for their violation of State firearm preemption law.  Won’t you consider helping us today with your most generous donation?

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TCAPS Adopts Compliant Weapons Policy, Allows Guns

Last night, Traverse City Area Public Schools adopted a new weapons policy and it’s good news for CPL holders. The new policy appears to respect Michigan law and your rights, by allowing those “permitted by law” to carry at TCAPS facilities and events.

Earlier this year TCAPS learned that Open Carry on school property with a CPL is legal in Michigan after someone did just that at one of their school board meetings. Since then, TCAPS has talked with local law-enforcement, reviewed state law, and determined that their weapons policy was not in compliance.

At last month’s TCAPS board meeting new policy language was submitted for review to the board, which was forwarded on to Michigan Open Carry’s leadership by MOC member Andy Marek. MOC’s legislative team looked over the new language and was very pleased to see that the school district appeared to be making a good faith effort to comply with state law. Though the language wasn’t perfect, it was good enough for the team to send TCAPS a letter of support containing a few suggested tweaks, with copious citations of course.

Today we are pleased to report that not only did TCAPS accept the new compliant language(starts on pg. 54) last night, they also adopted almost all of MOC’s suggestions.

It’s good to see another school following the law. As this trend grows, more and more of their worst fears are shown to be baseless and/or absurd. The truth is getting out there – we are not the problem.

Does this mean that the TCAPS board has suddenly turned pro-gun? Well, let’s not get carried away, it may be possible MOC’s pending lawsuit had something to do with it.

However, there are some school districts that are still holding out and continue to look for any possible way to not comply. These holdouts will have to be dealt with the hard way and we need your help. MOC is preparing to file suit against one of these holdouts and we need all of the support we can get.

Won’t you help us continue the trend by donating to Michigan Open Carry’s legal fund today?

Originally published at www.miopencarry.org

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Steve Boron: “Conservatism Wins,” especially in tough districts

Protecting gun rights, cutting taxes, reducing spending, and stopping Obamacare. These aren’t issues you’d expect a Republican to run on in a blue district, like Michigan’s 16th House District which consists of the cities of Wayne and Westland. But Steve Boron says it’s the only way Republicans can win over Democrats and Independents.

Steve Boron talks with a voter over the phone. He estimates that his campaign has placed over 15,000 live phone calls to voters in his district.

Steve Boron talks with a voter over the phone. His campaign has placed over 15,000 live phone calls to voters in Michigan’s 16th House District.

“A lot of voters are disengaging from the political process because they feel neither party represents them,” said Boron. “Instead of being ‘Democrat-lite’, Republicans need to take a stand for conservative principles and inspire their base to get out and vote.”

Steve Boron is a 20-year member of the UAW, the owner of a small solar panel business, and a lifelong resident of Westland. On paper, he seems unlikely to be a free-market conservative – let alone a Republican candidate for State Representative. But Boron says his background is his biggest strength.

“I’m a blue collar worker and a union member just like most people in the district. Voters here will trust me before they trust a career politician or a wealthy CEO,” he said. “I understand what issues matter to my community and how to tailor the conservative message to win over their support.”

Campaign Strategy

When asked whether he has any proof his strategy works, Steve Boron responds that he is simply “retooling” Barack Obama’s successful re-election strategy.

“Obama won in 2012 because he moved to the left, fired up his base, and got out the vote,” Boron says. “It made me wonder, ‘why can’t Republicans improve on that model?'”

Boron points out his training at the Foundation for Applied Conservative Leadership and experience as a grassroots activist were also formative in his understanding of political strategy.

“We’re focusing heavily on voter identification and microtargeting. Once we know where a voter stands on a few issues, we know how to communicate to them,” he said. “For example, every supporter of the Second Amendment we identify will be targeted with a message about my ‘A’ rating from the NRA and the endorsement I received from the Michigan Coalition of Responsible Gun Owners.”

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Candidate Rick Snyder (2010) vs. Gov. Rick Snyder (2012) On Guns

Originally posted on MIOpenCarry.org (Reposted with permission)

According to OnTheIssues.org, in 2010 then gubernatorial candidate Rick Snyder’s campaign website contained the following in regards to whether or not he would support the 2nd Amendment and the rights of gun owners:

“In one word: absolutely. I actually own three guns myself. I have a 12 gauge shotgun and two .22 rifles that I use for target shooting. I believe the 2nd amendment also protects the right of citizens to have a gun in their home to protect their family and property. I also support the rights of gun owners to responsibly carry their gun, as long as they have attained the legal permit. While I’m not an avid hunter, I support the industry and believe it plays an important role in our economy and quality of life. It also can have a valuable environmental conservation impact and I would work to streamline the processes so that hunters get better customer service from the state and local governments. We have a long tradition in our state of supporting gun rights and the hunting industry in Michigan and I would continue to support that tradition as Governor.”

Now there are two big problems with the highlighted portion. The first problem is that rights and permits are mutually exclusive. A right, by definition, is something that belongs fundamentally to everyone, as opposed to a permit which gives you the ability to do something you could otherwise do. The second problem is that when Gov. Snyder was given the opportunity to backup his words he folded.

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Rick Snyder on Gun Free Zones

I wish it weren’t true, I really do, but here’s the thing: the reason we still have gun free zones in this State is Gov. Rick Snyder.

Let’s review the political landscape in Michigan.  Michigan’s legislature is divided into two chambers: A senate and a house.

The Michigan Senate is made up of 38 members (26 Republicans and 12 Democrats – As of this writing).  The Michigan Senate has had this composition since January 1, 2011 and this composition will remain in place until the end of December this year (2014).

The Michigan House is made up of 110 members (59 Republicans, 50 Democrats, and 1 “Independent” Democrat – as of this writing).  The Michigan House has had this composition since January 1, 2013 and this composition will remain in place until the end of December this year (2014).  Between January 1, 2011 and through December, 2012 the composition was 64 Republicans and 46 Democrats — 9 votes short of a supermajority (66%) of Republicans.  The latter amount represents the composition when SB 59 was passed in 2012.

Let’s talk about SB 59, as ultimately passed by the legislature.  SB 59 would have (in brief):

  1. Overhauled the process to get your CPL to make getting your CPL much simpler, with one person (your local Sheriff) being solely responsible for issuing your CPL or facing financial penalties in Court for denying you without a lawful reason (as specified in MCL 28.425b)
  2. Force the CPL Issuer to grant a person who completed a nominal amount of additional training an exemption to the Concealed Pistol Free Zones outlined in MCL 28.425onearly eliminating concealed pistol free zones in Michigan.
  3. Made it illegal to open carry a firearm in a location described in MCL 28.425o.

While the third point rightfully posed some controversy in Michigan’s second amendment community, especially open carriers, Michigan’s “Big 3” (Michigan Open Carry, Inc, Michigan Coalition of Responsible Gun Owners, Michigan Gun Owners) Firearm organizations voted (via their Board of Directors) to Support SB 59 as it ultimately passed and urged the Governor to sign it.

Ultimately, Gov. Rick Snyder decided to veto SB 59.  He didn’t veto it because he’s so pro-gun he opposed making it illegal to open carry in a 28.425o zone, no…not at all.  In fact, that language was added to the legislation at the Governor’s insistence.  Rather, the Governor opposed SB 59 because (according to his veto letter) he wanted to weaken preemption:

“While we must vigilantly protect the rights of law-abiding firearm owners, we also must ensure the right of designated public entities to exercise their best discretion in matters of safety and security,” he said. “These public venues need clear legal authority to ban firearms on their premises if they see fit to do so.

So all those publicly owned pistol free zones described in MCL 28.425o?  Snyder wanted them to be able to ban guns, contrary to the State’s preemption law outlined in MCL 123.1102.  Senator Mike Green, lead sponsor of SB 59, refused to cave into this final demand of the Governor to weaken preemption, so the bill passed as it did and the rest is (as they say) history.

Senator Mike Green Later reintroduced SB 59 in the next (current) session as SB 213.  Sadly, SB 213 has gone nowhere because the Governor doesn’t want to address/eliminate Pistol Free Zones.  Since the Governor is a Republican (like a majority of the State House and Senate) the Republican majorities won’t take up the issue.  After all, many of the members do not want to further embarrass/alienate their parties Governor on the matter prior to an election.  Many of these members are counting on their Governor’s support during the election season (both the Primaries and the General Election) to help them get re-elected.  Fearing the Governor will withdraw his support from fellow Republican members who pass legislation supporting the elimination of 28..425o zones, the legislature has sat on SB 213.  Would this be the same if the Governor didn’t belong to the same party as a majority of the state legislature?

To answer that question, let’s look at history of previous legislature and Governor.  In 2006 the legislature passed Michigan’s version of “Stand your Ground”, the Self Defense Act of 2006.  Not wanting to alienate gun owners prior to the November election of 2006, Governor Granholm signed the law in July of 2006.

This political situation aside, it’s possible SB 59’s veto would have been overridden.  SB 59 passed on final passage with the following support, House: Yeas 68 Nays 41; Senate: Yeas 27 Nays 11.  In the Senate a 2/3’s majority to over-ride a veto is 26 votes.  In the House it is 74 votes.  In other words, the Senate had enough votes and the House would have only needed to flip 3 votes.  Of course, given fear of losing support of the Govenor, the legislature wouldn’t over-ride the Governor’s veto even if the votes were there.  This recently happened in Missouri where the Republican Legislature overrode the Democrat Governor’s veto on pro-gun legislation.

In fact, even the Liberal Huffington posts seem to suggest gun free zones are a bad idea.

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