Firearms

The MSP has some ‘splaining to do

The Backstory

MCL 28.425e(5)(m) mandates that by January 1st of each year, the Michigan State Police must issue a report containing “A list of expenditures made by the department of state police from money received under this act, regardless of purpose.”

Emphasis mine.

Up to this point, the expenditures reported on the annual reports (https://www.michigan.gov/msp/0,4643,7-123-1878_1591_3503_4654-77621–,00.html) were aggregated into categories. It’s not a list of expenditures, but up until this point, no one has called them on it.

So we (Michigan Open Carry) filed a FOIA request for the list of expenditures for FY16 last fall. One of the key factors is the fact that out of a reported take of $8,020,921 (and this is excluding fingerprinting fees), $5,425,305 was spent on “Support systems utilized by the CPL unit” – or just over 2/3 of their non-fingerprinting CPL revenues.

What?

To make things short, in responding to our request, the MSP basically pointed us towards the FY16 annual report. Clearly not what we wanted.

So we appealed, with a subsequent response of, well, nothing.

Time to initiate a litigatory beatdown.

Lawsuit

In March of this year, we filed suit.

At this point, by way of the discovery process, we can start getting a bit intrusive (read our discovery request here).

When we got our discovery documents (Part 1 and Part 2), we realized something interesting – the revenue numbers they claimed were short of what they would have actually recieved based on the number of applications.

The Shenanigans

And by short, I’m talking millions of dollars.

Even with the most conservative estimate (based strictly on the amount they received prior to PA 3 of 2015 going into effect on December 1st 2015), the MSP is under reporting almost $3.5m of revenue, though we estimate that figure to be closer to $5.3m. Again, keep in mind this isn’t taking into account fingerprinting fees.

But the fun doesn’t stop there.

The discovery we received also seems to indicate their actual expenses were closer to $1.8m, not the $8,020,921 reported (isn’t it magical how their publicly reported expenses match exactly with their publicly reported revenues?).

I certainly can’t think of a reason why these numbers would be mis-reported. When asked (prior to us getting discovery), the MSP punted with a lame response of “The fees are set by the legislature”.

Yeah, good luck weaseling out of this now.

For our most recent release (and it goes into slightly more detail about the revenues and expenses post discovery acquisition), take a look here.

To view all court filings (which also include the actual FOIA request and appeal), follow along here. I update that index as filings come in.

I do highly recommend reading our Response to the Motion for Summary Disposition. It’s a work of art.

You Betcha! (16)Nuh Uh.(1)

Michigan Criminal Justice Reform: Too Much, Too Soon?

Recidivism Is Worse Than We Have Been Told

Michigan has been at the forefront of ‘criminal justice reform’, which is newspeak for prison population reduction. In just a few years, Michigan has driven the MDoC prison population down 18%.  Democrats love criminal justice reform because it gets one of their major constituencies back on the streets, and voting. Republicans love criminal justice reform because it cuts prison spending, which has become a bottomless pit with all the various mandates. Both of these views are decidedly near term.
The question for non criminal Michigan residents is longer term: will crime rates rise as more prisoners spend less time incarcerated and more time in your neighborhood?

A study just released by the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics undermines the case for criminal justice reforms intended to reduce prison populations. This study contradicts previous studies which showed much lower rates of recidivism, probably because it better tracks released prisoners who have moved to other states and also looks at a longer time frame.

This BJS study followed 67,966 state prisoners released in 2005, in 30 states, over the 9 year period following their release. This was a statistically representative sample (16.8%) of the 404,638 prisoners released that year in those 30 states. The BJS study included 2,603 Michigan individuals; sampled from the 12,177 releases from MDoC custody during 2005.

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Dingell and Upton Will Introduce Federal Gun Confiscation Legislation

Soviet Justice Comes To America

RINO Rick is playing coy with his impending school safety proposal, refusing to say whether Extreme Risk Protection Orders – now rebranded as ‘red flag laws’ – will be part of it. U.S. Representative Debbie Dingell has no such qualms. The Wicked Witch of West Bloomfield announced yesterday that she intends to introduce federal Extreme Risk Protection Order legislation based upon Indiana Code Title 35, Article 47, Chapter 14 (IC 35-47-14). She claimed on Fox News Live that West Michigan Congressman Fred Upton, a Republican, will be a co sponsor.

Indiana Code 35-47-14 establishes procedures for law enforcement to seize privately held firearms from individuals deemed ‘dangerous’. An Indiana law enforcement officer can petition a circuit or superior court for a warrant to “search for and seize a firearm in the possession of an individual who is dangerous”. Or the Indiana law enforcement officer can just go ahead and both search for and seize firearms in the possession of any individual; then at his leisure submit a written statement to the circuit or superior court with jurisdiction, declaring the individual to be dangerous ex post facto.

An Indiana law enforcement officer can declare the individual to be dangerous on his own accord, or rely on the declaration of a third party informer. The law enforcement officers and informants are not required to prove any qualifications in court. The law enforcement officer and the informants are unchallenged. Their assertions alone transform an otherwise legal activity – private firearms possession – into a crime.

Indiana Code 35-47-14 claims that this is legally sufficient probable cause, but is it?

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Is Congressman Mike Bishop Abandoning The Second Amendment?

And the rest of the conservative agenda?

Michigan 8th District U.S. Congressman Mike Bishop’s campaign website has been scrubbed updated to remove any mention of the Second Amendment from its Issues page. Or anything else remotely controversial in the conservative agenda. His new campaign website Issues page has a bunch of anodyne pablum, but no mention of firearms:

His new, Second Amendment free, Issues page

His previous, 25 September 2017, Issues page:

2nd Amendment
Supporting our 2nd amendment right to bear arms, Mike Bishop championed right-to-carry legislation, received A/A+ rating from NRA and is personally a gun owner with a CPL.

The Rochester Republican has not made any public statements indicating changes in his position on the Second Amendment, but the update of his campaign website speaks volumes.

Bishop faces no opposition in the August 7th Republican Primary, but tough Democratic opposition in the November 6th General Election. Chris Smith, a labor-backed professor at MSU’s School of Criminal Justice, and Elissa Slotkin, an Obama Administration DoD appointee, are both running. The winner of this Democratic primary match up is expected to be well funded in the Fall.

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Bat Guano Crazy

Libertarian attention desperation suggests purposeful anarchy?

Give the mentally ill weapons. Specifically shotguns, for personal defense, right?

That is the attention grabbing tactic used by the most recent Libertarian candidate for the Michigan US Senate seat.  Brian Ellison, a veteran from SE Michigan is currently raising money to give out 20 pump style shotguns to the homeless.

According to Michigan radio Ellison is serious:

Ellison acknowledges his campaign, “Arm the Homeless,” has shock value that will bring attention to his campaign. But he says as a third-party candidate going up against well-funded Democratic and Republican opponents, shock value is about the only thing he can do to get media coverage.

But he says there is a serious intent to the campaign, which is to bring attention to the high rates of violent crime against homeless people, as well as the dehumanization of the homeless.

Uh..  Brian? The only thing?

Shock value does not mean good policy.  Consider a primary reason so many are homeless.  Mental illness, and the inability of our society to reconcile the use of drugs and other mind wasting substances. Our state mental institutions are closed, and the results are in many cases wandering bodies.

I am a solid 2A guy.  Hell, I have often argued that the mentally ill ought to be able to defend themselves with firearms if they so desire.  However, there are different stages of mental illness; some of them are not so predictable.

Kinda like random Libertarian attention grabbing stunts, yeah?

 

 

You Betcha! (11)Nuh Uh.(1)

Michigan Gun Control Update

Extreme Risk Protection Orders and Very Expensive Virtue Signaling

Above the fold headlines in both Gongwer and MIRS today suggest that RINO Rick is launching an intense effort to secure passage of Representative Robert Wittenberg’s HB 4706 and HB 4707. These bills create a new category of judicial proclamation – ‘Extreme Risk Protection Orders’ – which direct police to confiscate the firearms of anyone who is denounced to a Michigan court “without written or oral notice” to the victim. These ERPO bills have been rebranded as ‘red flag laws’ after the Parkland, Florida high school shooting. Both of Wittenberg’s bills received their first reading (of three) last year and were languishing in the House Judiciary Committee. No longer.

Here are the headlines:

Gongwer

Snyder Preparing Gun Control Proposal

MIRS

Snyder Considers Waving The Red Flag; Sheriffs Want Cops Back In Schools

These stories are behind a paywall, but RINO Rick’s spokesperson Tanya Baker floated a trial balloon on AP three days ago. The Democrats have been all in for a while, so whether ERPOs come to Michigan will be determined by the Republicans in the Legislature soon.

Here is the problem: Some clown you hardly know can petition a judge to issue an ERPO which orders the police to seize your firearms, CPL, knives, baseball bats, golf clubs, etc. You only find out that an ERPO has been issued when the police break down your door to effect the seizure. You have no opportunity to contest the initial issuance of an ERPO in front of the judge. It is a bolt out of the blue. The police get to throw your valuable collector firearms into a dump trailer willy-nilly without any responsibility for the condition or safekeeping of your property. You, the restrained individual, then have 14 days to file a counter action. Good luck with that.

Stalinism meets civil forfeiture.

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Albion College Charges Student Republican For Firearms Humor

We Will Raise A Loyal Generation Of Communists!

Albion College student Alexander Tokie emailed a political position paper on the subject of ‘white privilege’ to his fellow College Republicans in September. The email concluded with a very funny reference to a .45 ACP pistol and putative hunting permits for Antifa and ISIS:

….Take the liberal tears from the idiot you just destroyed in your debate, dissemble your American made Springfield M1911 .45 caliber handgun and apply the tears in order to clean the mechanism, reassemble and proceed to purchase ANTIFA and ISIS hunting permits and max out on tags.

Mr. Tokie’s position paper leaked and the entirely humorless administration of Albion College has charged Mr. Tokie with violating Albion’s policy against the ‘use of, or threatened use of, physical force or violence’.

You Betcha! (13)Nuh Uh.(2)

Doing the right thing for the wrong reasons.

“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

This piece started off when I was asked for my $0.02 this weekend on something in the local paper (which I freely admit that I do still read), written by someone whom I consider an absolute imbecile (which I’d told my friend on multiple occasions what I thought of this particular writer).

Still, if this wasn’t coming from a friend of mine, it probably would’ve ended differently.

{Post continues below the fold}

 

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Once Upon A Time

The first amendment used to assist the second? Brilliant?

There was a Republican legislator in Michigan.

He wasn’t a remarkably conservative man, and to-be-sure not particularly interested in the constitution.  Certainly not very knowledgeable about it either. Bruce Patterson actually tried to license ‘opinion’

One thing of particular interest to bloggers and out-of-mainstream writers is the legislative effort to curb access to information and the ability to report by ‘just anyone’. It had popped up a couple of years ago when a Michigan legislator, State senator Bruce Patterson (perhaps twirling his handlebar mustache a little too tight) had the idea of ‘licensing journalists’.

“Introduced by Sen. Bruce Patterson (R) on May 11, 2010, to create a government “Board of Michigan Registered Reporters” to pass on the qualifications under criteria established in the bill for an individual who seeks to use the title “Michigan Registered Reporter.” An individual who writes or creates news stories, commentaries or editorials for a newspaper, online news outlet or radio or TV broadcaster, and who wants to use this title, would have to pay a $10 fee, and have either a journalism degree, at least three years experience as a reporter, submit writing samples, present evidence of awards or recognitions, present a letter of recognition from a reporter who is “registered,” etc.”

A very strange thing to even ponder, much less propose as law.

In fairness, it should be noted he was ‘cool’ with non credentialed types using the title ‘reporter’.

In fairness.

One might wonder where such a mental process begins.  Is it the result of a nasty and hurtful news article?  Is it to protect an elite class of reporters and restrict access to all others (unless properly credentialed) who seek access to political types?  Is it simply impish guile?

Who knows?  It’s forgotten news anyhow, as it went nowhere and it has been absent for several years of the 24 hour news cycle.

Now we have a new twist!  read on…

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