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Michigan issues more gun permits, but reports show fewer gun deaths

By Cynthia Trowbridge     Jan 7, 2008 in Crime
A new law went into effect in Michigan on July 1, 2001 which made it easier to get a license to carry concealed weapons. Has there been an increase in gun deaths or a decrease?
In 2000 the Michigan legislature amended Michigan's firearms laws. Michigan is now known as a "shall issue" state. Before the new law went into effect each county's gun board made the decision who would be able to have get a CCW permit. The decision often was based on the applicant showing a need for the permit which varied from county to county.
When the new law went into effect on July 1, 2001 anyone who met the strict qualifications of the law would be able to receive a concealed pistol permit. Since the law went into effect those in Michigan that legally carry a concealed weapon has increased more than six-fold.
Even though those that were against the law predicated that there would be an increase in bloodshed and violence, according to law enforcement officials this has not happened. Since the new law went into effect violent crimes in Michigan have decreased below the rate of the previous six years.
According to Michigan State Police records there are more than 155,000, about one in every 65, who carry loaded guns now. Before that there were only about 25,000 Michiganders who had a CCW permit.
According to "I think the general consensus out there from law enforcement is that things were not as bad as we expected," said Woodhaven Police Chief Michael Martin, cochair of the legislative committee for the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police. "There are problems with gun violence. But ... I think we can breathe a sigh of relief that what we anticipated didn't happen."According to John Lott a professor at the University of Maryland the results don't surprise him. Lott has done extensive research on the role of firearms in America.
Lott stated that according to academic studies there have been different results shown when citizens are allowed permits to carry guns. About two-thirds of the studies suggest there is reduced crime and the rest of the studies show no effect. In Michigan and elsewhere (liberal permitting is the rule in about 40 states), those who seek CCW permits, get training and pay licensing fees tend to be "the kind of people who don't break laws," Lott said.Lott states that nationally the number of CCW permits that are revoked is low. In Michigan less than 1% have been revoked or suspended since 2001.
Opponents to the law are convinced that it has led to an increase in what they see as an epidemic of death and destruction by guns.
According to Shikha Hamilton of Grosse Pointe, president of the Michigan chapter of the anti-gun group Million Moms March, she believes gun violence is up. She also believes that many incidents that do involve those with a CCW permit are not widely reported.Hamilton said that even if gun violence has ebbed, it remains pervasive, tragic and unnecessary. At the least, a more liberal concealed weapons law means there are more guns in homes and cars and on the street, she said, and more potential for disaster.Some obtained the permit for the reason they see it as their right to bear arms. According to Michelle Reurink, 40, a consultant in Lansing that is the reason she obtained her permit because it is her right according to the Constitution's Second Amendment."The primary reason I got it is because I feel like I have the right to have it," she said.She said that she seldom carries it but does take it when she and her husband go out on their boat.
She says she does feel more secure because of the training she was required to take which included self-defense lessons.
According to a story in in Dec. gun violence includes unintentional deaths and injuries which could have been easily prevented if guns had been taken care of in the proper manner.
The major cause of death to those under 35 is from motor vehicle accidents the second cause is from firearms."Too many Detroit children have been killed or seriously injured by playing with unlocked firearms they've found in their own homes," say the Counsel of Baptist Pastors of Detroit and Vicinity. There was community fair held before Christmas that gave 1500 American storage RAC's free to families."Keeping guns locked is a critically important step in preventing such tragedies." [Council of Baptist Ministers] American RAC prevents firearm theft, therefore protecting our children. The security storage RAC also locks tools, equipment, bicycles, and lawnmowers.
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