End of an era: State law changes process for CPL, Muskegon County Gun Board disbanded


PHOTO #1: Muskegon County Gun Board's last official meeting to issue/reject CPLs before disbanding: left to right, Lt. James Christiansen, Detective, Muskegon County Sheriff's representative; Benjamin Medema, Muskegon County Prosecutor's representative; Sgt. Aaron Sweeney, Michigan State Police Representative; Jackie Horton, Muskegon County Clerk's representative; and Nancy Waters, Muskegon County Clerk.
PHOTO #2: Hilson gun board:  Muskegon County Prosecutor, D. J. Hilson, recognized those who have served on the Muskegon County Gun Board for their many years of service.
PHOTO #3: Some of the representatives of law enforcement attending the reception were LR Captain Phil Marcil retired Muskegon County Sheriff's department, Lt. James Christiansen Detective Muskegon County Sheriff's department, Captain Mike Poulin Muskegon County Sheriff's department, Road Lt. Shane Brown Muskegon County Sheriff's department, D.J. Hilson Muskegon County Prosecutor, Benjamin Medema Assistant Prosecuting attorney, Sgt Aaron Sweeney Michigan State Police, and Robert Carter retired Muskegon County Sheriff (1991-2003).
By Diana L. Coleman
Legal News

The Muskegon County Gun Board held its final meeting for review, approval, and/or rejection of applications for the carrying a concealed weapon (CPL, which stands for Concealed Pistol License) on November 17. Effective December 1, 2015, all applications for a CPL will be handled by the county clerk’s office and the Michigan State Police. The process of the applicant appearing before the Gun Board and being questioned by the board has become history as a result of the change in Michigan law.
Nancy Waters, Muskegon County Clerk, held a reception following the last Gun Board meeting to honor those who have served for many years on the board. Attendees included many who had served prior terms on the Gun Board.  

PA 129 of 1887 was the first act in Michigan which prohibited carrying a concealed pistol.  In 1911, PA 374 created the first gun boards consisting of the prosecuting attorney and sheriff or chief of police, where applicable. The board had the authority to grant licenses to carry a revolver, pistol or pocket-billy; it was required to meet the first Monday of each month.  

Under PA 129 mining company employees were allowed to purchase the license for $10. Banks, trust companies, railroad and express companies could get a general license good for any of their employees. The county clerk was the secretary for the gun board. No residency or age requirement was stated and the
license included a description of the weapon to be carried.  Public Act  374 repealed PA 129 of 1887.

In 1925, PA 313 was passed, repealing the 1911 act.  This act defined a pistol, revolver, or gun as used in this section as 30” or less in length.  The applicant was required to get their license to carry a concealed pistol in the county where they resided.  There was no age requirement.  The applicant had to show reasonable cause for desiring a license. All previously issued licenses to carry a concealed pistol expired at midnight, December 31, 1925.

In 1927 rules for obtaining a CPL were again changed under PA 372.  It stated that Concealed Pistol Licensing boards would be made up of the prosecuting attorney, chief of police, or sheriff depending on residency of the applicant, and the commissioner of public safety.  The applicant had to be at least 19 years of age to get a CPL and also had to be a resident of Michigan for at least six months. PA 372 stated that the board must convene at least once per month and that each CPL was valid for not more than one year. This act was revised numerous times throughout the years.

The CPL requirements went through major changes when PA 381 was passed in 2001. This act repealed the prior act for PLC licenses.  The replacement changed Michigan from a “MAY” issue state where a CPL applicant was required to show a need for a license to a “SHALL” issue state to those qualified applicants.  The cost for a license to carry a concealed pistol was $3 in 1948; $10 in 1979, and $105 in 2001.  This fee included the cost of processing the fingerprints through the State and the FBI.  The license was valid for five years.

On December 1, 2015, state law eliminates all gun boards and the County Clerk shall issue a license after approval of the license by the Michigan State Police office in Lansing. Applications may be obtained at the County Clerk’s office, or online. Applicants may obtain fingerprints at any location offering the service, which are then submitted by that location to the Michigan State Police. 

The applicant must still meet all the same requirements as before, which include gun safety training, requisite number of hours on the shooting range, and a background check by Michigan State Police and the FBI.  The Michigan State Police will either approve or deny the application within 45 days and notify
the county clerk for the applicant’s county.

Michigan State Police Sgt, Aaron Sweeney, who has served on Gun Control boards for the past twenty years in six Michigan Counties said, “It is all on us (Michigan State Police) now.  I am sure there will be a backlog with the law change with a flood of new applications.  We will try to process the applications as quickly as we can.”