Protecting Michiganders’ rights from government overreach

Guest column

STATE REP. BEAU LAFAVE

The government has no business deciding how Michiganders transport and carry out their constitutional right to bear arms on their own private property.

Private property rights are in place for a reason. Michigan should be promoting greater personal freedom — not hindering it. That’s why I authored bipartisan legislation protecting Michigan residents from unfair government overreach.

Any person transporting an uncased, loaded long-barreled firearm under current Michigan law could be charged with a misdemeanor, imprisoned up to 90 days and fined up to $500. This burdensome regulation infringes on Michiganders’ 2nd Amendment right and leaves them vulnerable to unreasonable prosecution.

House Bill 4331 would reverse course and allow individuals to transport uncased, loaded long-barreled firearms on private land using any kind of vehicle. It’s crucial we stand up for law-abiding citizens and protect them from this ill-conceived violation, bring parity to pistol, bow and long-barreled weapon regulations, and provide long-overdue criminal justice reform here in Michigan.

Michigan already permits the same freedoms for pistols, crossbows and slingshots. It makes no sense to discriminate against rifle owners. In fact, it’s ludicrous what you can legally do with a .22 pistol compared to a .22 long rifle when it’s the same bullet. This alone emphasizes the need to remove any impracticable government red tape infringing on our civil liberties.

I would be remiss not to mention the benefits and convenience my plan would bring to the people of Michigan, including individuals residing in the Upper Peninsula and other rural areas across the state.

Avid hunters, especially those with disabilities, would easily be able to travel to or from their blinds on private property. Farmers who often need easy access to firearms would have greater ability to protect crops and livestock from nuisance animals without fear of criminal charges.

Progress has already been made as my legislation just recently passed the Michigan House and is now in the Senate for consideration. Bottom line: we must stop placing barriers on the very constitutional right in place for our self-defense, the defense of state and defense from government overreach.

As chair of the House Military, Veterans and Homeland Security Committee, I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues on future negotiations to ensure HB 4331 a swift approval and trip to the governor’s desk for a final signature.

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