Michigan Sees Huge Uptick in Concealed Carry Applications

As in other states, Michigan is seeing a huge spike in applications for concealed carry permits.

According to the state police website, 528,320 of the Great Lake State's 9.9 million residents were licensed to carry concealed as of March 1. By March 24, the number of approved concealed firearm permits rose to 539,036 statewide. That's a jump of more than 10,000 in just 24 days, according to this story from wzzm13.com.

The story says the uptick started after a December 1 change in state law that, in part, speeds up the time it takes to get a permit, and eliminated three-member approval boards in each county that previously approved or denied permits—work now done by county clerks with State Police conducting background checks on applicants, the story says.

"The presidential election may also be driving up applications, according to county officials, gun shop owners and concealed carry instructors, who say uncertainty during election years tends to fuel concerns that gun laws will change. That fear is amplified after mass shootings, such as the recent ones in Kalamazoo and Oregon."

"In the Michigan State Police's most recent annual report, dated Oct. 1, 2014, to Sept. 30, 2015, the number of concealed pistol license applications received was 121,682, with 120,548 applications issued. That's more than double the number of licenses — 53,000 — that were issued from July 1, 2001, to June 30, 2002, in the first year Michigan's concealed carry law was in effect."

Today, some legislators in Michigan are considering doing away with the licensing system completely, adding the state to the growing list of those with constitutional carry, or permitless carry.

There’s no direct proof that the elimination of the gun boards is behind the uptick in applications, the story notes, but the spike has been most noticeable in Macomb County, which previously was one of the few counties in Michigan where applicants were required to appear in person before the gun board.

“Since the change, Macomb County has seen a record number of CCW applications each month. There were 1,651 applications filed in Macomb County in December; 1,852 applications in January, and 1,855 filed in February. The office was up to 1,494 applications through March 24."

“Macomb County Clerk Carmella Sabaugh, whose office processes the applications and prints the licenses, said she doesn’t know specifically what's behind the spike, but ‘I think people have a renewed interest in getting guns.’"

“If the office continues this pace, it will receive about twice the number of applications this year than during an average year, according to vital records supervisor Brian Brdak...Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham, whose office does fingerprinting for applicants, said ‘if we stay on this pace since December 2015 we will have about a 48% increase in fingerprints for (CCW).'"

“Tom Vaughan, one of the owners of Firing Line in Westland, said his gun shop and firing range fills every concealed pistol license class and 'we’re filling them up a little bit quicker now” and scheduling into May.'

“Vaughan, a retired Westland police officer, said his business is seeing more women using firearms, obtaining them mostly for protection. In the last few months, it also is seeing more first-time firearm buyers, such as for a handgun or something for their home.

“Vaughan said he believes the upcoming presidential election may be playing a role in more people getting a CPL. He also thinks that lean economic times have left some people feeling ‘the need to protect themselves more because there are not enough police.

“’We believe in crime control not gun control,’ Vaughan said.”