House passes gun records confidentiality bills

The state House moved to broaden gun owners' rights Thursday by voting to reaffirm the confidential status of gun records, clarify the definition of "brandishing" a gun and lift a ban on short-barreled rifles.
AP Wire
Mar 16, 2014

A Republican package of bills passed by a wide margin, with 81-28 being the closest vote. The bills would codify a 1999 Michigan Supreme Court decision that found the disclosure of gun registry records to be "a clearly unwarranted invasion of an individual's privacy."

The legislation would amend the Michigan Handgun Act to exempt all firearms records, including previously protected concealed-carry permit records, from Freedom of Information Act requests. The information would still be available to law enforcement officials for certain purposes. The package now goes to the Senate.

Bill sponsor Rep. Aric Nesbitt, R-Lawton, said people practicing their constitutional right to gun ownership shouldn't have to "lose a semblance of privacy." Lawmakers introduced the legislation after a New York newspaper published the names and addresses of gun owners in two counties in December 2012, following the shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Nesbitt said.

National Rifle Association spokeswoman Catherine Mortensen said gun owners' information should be confidential because "law-abiding permit holders" should be protected from "unscrupulous media organizations" that print their personal information.

Jane Briggs-Bunting, a retired journalism professor and the president of the Michigan Coalition for Open Government, said the legislation shows lawmakers are "chipping away bit by bit" at information that "used to be routinely available to the public." She said the trend threatens a "free, vibrant democracy."

"The FOIA is about keeping a watchdog eye on government," she said. "Well, what happens if the government starts fooling around with gun registrations? No one would know about it because there's no public information available."

A separate bipartisan package that passed in the House seeks to clarify a law that prohibits the "brandishing" of a gun in public. The bills would define "brandish" to mean to "point, wave about or display in a threatening manner with the intent to induce fear in another person." The new definition would authorize a person to openly carry a gun in a holster or sling.

Certain short-barreled shotguns and rifles also would become legal under a Senate bill that will soon go to Gov. Rick Snyder. Owners of those shotguns would need to meet federal requirements under the legislation, which passed 103-6.

HB 5324: http://1.usa.gov/1kPHOFz

HB 5091: http://1.usa.gov/1cY4Qly

SB 610: http://1.usa.gov/1goeW3H

Comments

Truth Be Told

The anti-gun lobby claims that keeping gun owner records confidential threatens a "free, vibrant democracy" when in FACT the anti-gun lobby was using those very records to do exactly that which they claim to oppose.
Imposing on the civil rights of lawful gun owners.
Isn't that just slick.

Lanivan

The NRA says,..."gun owners' information should be confidential because "law-abiding permit holders" should be protected from "unscrupulous media organizations" that print their personal information".

But oddly, the NRA, a lobbying group representing gun manufacturers, apparently believes the exception to the rule is when the NRA chooses to collect highly detailed information on gun owners - not just the 3 million members, but tens of millions of gun owners who have no association with the NRA....."The NRA has spent years secretly collecting information about gun owners from state and local offices and has built the country’s largest privately held database of current, former and prospective gun owners, according to a BuzzFeed report".

"News of the NRA’s database is particularly surprising, since the pro-gun agency heavily protested the idea of a federal gun registry after the Newtown massacre led to debates on increased background checks. Even though 91 percent of Americans supported universal background checks, lawmakers were unable to push such an initiative through Congress. At the time, the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre instilled a widespread fear that universal background checks would lead to a national registry of gun owners, which critics said could lead to taxes on guns or confiscation." http://rt.com/usa/nra-database-g... Creepy.

"Bill sponsor Rep. Aric Nesbitt, R-Lawton, said people practicing their constitutional right to gun ownership shouldn't have to "lose a semblance of privacy." I think Aric should be careful about making public remarks about gun owners losing a semblance of privacy in one breath, while in another partnering up with a lobbying group that has spent years secretly amassing the private data of tens of millions of past, present, and future gun owners to compile a massive databank registry.

And, just for the heck of it - could anyone tell me how these laws have anything to do with jobs, unemployment, and the economic status of Michigan citizens? Isn't that the most important and critical issue facing Michiganders?

sirhansalot

Lanavan, you do not have to register with the NRA it is a choice. Like any association you join the NRA collects and keeps your information for all sorts of reasons. The state wants your information with out you permission ...........

Lanivan

sirhanslot - Yes - a registry of members makes sense, and I wouldn't object to that. But what is very odd about the NRA registry is that it is a massive collection of private data collected over the years on tens of millions of NON-members, comprised of information on past, present, and future gun owners, in addition to NRA members. It was amassed secretly, without public knowledge.

It is unnecessary overeach and manipulation of private information, gleaned from local and state records. Now Michigan Republicans are using the NRA to justify making public records less accessible and the NRA chimes in, declaring these types of registries are bad. But the NRA's - which has morphed from a rifle club that trains, promotes, and educates on the use of rifles to a juggernaut of a lobby and marketing group - registries are....good.

Barry Soetoro

Gosh, L, I thought you'd be busy filling out your bracket this morning.

Lanivan

:-\

sirhansalot

\

dogbert1918

I would trust the NRA 1000 times over our State. The only reason the media wants them made available is to print everyone's personal information making it easier for criminals to target innocent people. It all ties into to their anti gun agenda. Why doesn't the liberal media push for a registry, to make available to the public, of people who keep large sums of cash at home or anyone having a large, expensive jewelry collection kept at home?

TooMuch

I wish the NRA were interested in world peace, or something really important. They have too much power and can get just about anything passed through legislature quickly. I believe in gun ownership, but the NRA is an extremist group.

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