Proposed Legislation Seeks to Ban Use of Assault Weapons in Michigan

Michigan Democrats introduced a package of bills meant to reduce gun violence.

One takes aim at assault weapons, banning anyone from having or selling one.

A person in violation of the proposed law would be guilty of a felony, punishable by up to four years in prison, a $2,100 fine, or both.

The proposal is causing plenty of concern among local gun shops.

“They’re trying to ban two thirds of the guns Michigan hunters use for deer hunting,” explains Carl Carlson, owner of Carl’s Sports Center in Lake City.

He says the Assault Weapon Regulation Act would put him out of business if it passes.

“Just about every gun I have on the rack has a pistol grip on them,” he says. “It didn’t specify what kind of pistol grip, it just said pistol grip behind the trigger.”

If the new bill is passed, a typical deer with a pistol grip behind the trigger and a removable magazine would be banned.

“It means every hunter in Michigan would have to register their rifle,” Carl explains.

The bill defines assault weapons as semiautomatic pistols or pump-action rifles with several characteristics.

Those include a protruding grip not held by the trigger hand or a shoulder stock on a pistol.

The draft version has some exceptions and requirements for people who own weapons before the proposed effective date.

One would be registering the weapon with state police.

“There’s a lot of people that hunt up here,” says Lee Terry, owner of Terry’s Gun Shop. “This is Northern Michigan. You can’t be able to hunt or defend yourself.”

Sponsors of the bills say they wouldn’t keep guns from law-abiding citizens who want to own them.

But they say it would keep deadly weapons from children and others who shouldn’t have them.

“I can’t see any positive impact from this. It’s just a very onerous bill,” Carl says.

To read the full version of House Bill 5996, click here.

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