Record High CPL ArrestsMar 07, 2016, by Constitutional Law, Criminal Defense, Legal Blog, Weapons in
Every case and every charge presents unique challenges and opportunities. The experienced Michigan criminal defense lawyers at Davis Law Group can evaluate your case and explain your options and advise you about how to best proceed.
There have never been more people licensed to carry concealed firearms in Michigan. In 2004, there were 110,777 Concealed Pistol License (CPL) holders in Michigan. Now, that number has increased to a record high of 516,612. As the number of CPL holders continues to grow, the authorities have noticed a sharp increase in the number of arrests and prosecutions of CPL holders.
Between 2004 and 2014, indictments against CPL holders for violent crimes such as murder, rape, robbery, and assault increased by almost 600 percent—a staggering amount. During the same period, charges against CPL holders for all crimes increased eleven-fold.
Does Being a CPL Holder Put You at Greater Risk of an Arrest or Criminal Charges?
Some claim that the increase in arrests stems from a worrying trend of CPL holders committing acts of violence, recklessness, and vigilante justice. But the increase in arrests of CPL holders could be due to the simple fact that there are more CPL holders than ever before.
There may be no correlation—let alone causation—between being a CPL holder and being charged with a crime. Since there are more CPL holders in the population, it follows that a larger proportion of people arrested in Michigan will happen to have a CPL. The fact that out of the 4,421 cases against CPL holders in 2014-2013, only 367 cases involved the use of a gun shows that being a CPL holder may have had nothing to do with these arrests or the ensuing criminal charges.
Regardless of whether being a CPL holder increases the likelihood of being charged with a crime, the scrutiny applied to CPL applications has never been lower. This means that people with mental disorders or violent tendencies could be slipping through the cracks of the application process and obtaining the right to carry a concealed weapon.
Are CPL Applications Receiving Enough Scrutiny?
Certainly, anecdotal evidence suggests that some CPL holders should not have the right to carry a concealed firearm. Reports of CPL holders using their firearms in road rage incidents or domestic disputes are numerous. But most CPL holders appear to be law-abiding citizens who never end up using their weapons.
In December of 2015, Michigan removed county gun boards, which provided additional screening of CPL applications. These boards were composed of local community members who often knew the applicants personally, and could vouch for their trustworthiness and character. Now, the requirements for obtaining a CPL are:
- No felony convictions or pending felony cases in Michigan or elsewhere
- No convictions for certain misdemeanors in Michigan or elsewhere
- A waiting period of 3 to 8 years after a misdemeanor conviction before applying
- No dishonorable discharge from the armed forces
- No diagnosis of mental illness
- Completing a training course in firearms safety
It remains to be seen whether these criteria will adequately restrict violent or mentally unstable people form carrying concealed weapons. For many gun advocates, however, this a non issue. For example, Steve Dulan of the Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners has stated: “The Second Amendment is not about guaranteeing perfection, it’s about guaranteeing your right to fight back.”
How the Michigan Criminal Defense Lawyers at the Davis Law Group Can Help
With lawmakers introducing legislation to do away with the license requirement for concealed carry, it’s likely the number of people carrying guns will keep increasing in Michigan. If you’re a CPL holder facing criminal charges, or if you want to learn more about how to be a legal gun owner, call the Michigan criminal defense lawyers with Davis Law Group today at (313) 818-3238 and we’ll give you a free consultation.