Bill Proposes No State Background Checks for Pistol Purchase

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At Total Firearms in Mason, shooting a few rounds on the range can be as simple as getting a pass and renting a handgun. Making a purchase is a different story. The store, like other federally licensed firearms dealers, would perform a federal background check on the buyer. Before that, the buyer must get a state background check (License to Purchase) at the police or sheriff's office.

Some state lawmakers are trying to eliminate the state background check process.

"So why do duplicate work, the police departments have enough to do already," said Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge.

The argument is a federal check will be performed anyway. However, Michigan State Police argues that's not always the case since 47% of all pistol purchases are done through a private transaction where a background check is not available. Sgt. Christopher Hawkins, legislative liaison for the state police, says that opens dangerous doors for criminals.

"A convicted felon or wanted fugitive would no longer have to find a covert way to purchase a pistol anymore. They could purchase at any private transaction or at any gun show and they would know that they were not going to be subject to a background check," said Sgt. Hawkins.

"Before the bill passes through the senate, the state police concerns will be addressed," said Sen. Jones.

According to Sen. Jones, the final product will streamline the purchasing process, getting rid of duplication while also maintaining public safety.

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