Bernero: Handgun Legislation Outrageous, Ridiculous and Asinine

By: Lindsay Veremis Email
By: Lindsay Veremis Email

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero called legislation that would change state rules for handgun sales "outrageous, ridiculous and asinine" Monday, as he joined a coalition of other mayors and police fighting the measure.

It would toss out the state's permit requirements and according to law enforcement, make it much easier for a criminal to get their hands on a weapon. House bill 5225 would also do away with Michigan's pistol registry, a key police tool that helped lead to the arrest of the I-96 highway shootings suspect.

Supporters of the bill say it streamlines a cumbersome, redundant gun-buying process for legal buyers. State Police argue it may be well-intentioned, but contend it is not well-thought-out.

"This is a huge loophole, it is nothing but that," Bernero said. "It will put guns in the hands of criminals, there's no question about it."

While federal background checks are required for handgun sales at any federally-licensed shop, they're not required for private sales, which account for nearly half of Michigan's gun sales, according to state police.

"They're person to person, perhaps over the internet or maybe at a gun show, so for those particular sales this would not be redundant, this would be the only background check," Sergeant Chris Hawkins, with State Police said.

"The dirty little secret is that federal check does not apply," Bernero added.

Bernero says the legislation will likely increase illegal sales and bring even more violence to crime-riddled areas like Flint and Detroit. Of Flint's 56 homicides this year, the city's mayor says nearly all were committed with illegally owned handguns.

"The bill is dangerous, the bill is asinine, it's incredible to me that in the year 2012 we'd be talking about easing restrictions," Bernero added.

Currently, handgun buyers apply with a local law enforcement agency, undergo a background check and answer a few questions to get a permit they must take to the store or a private seller to make a purchase. At federally licensed shops, they also have to pass a national criminal background check.

Supporters of the measure argue that federal check is enough. They feel the state check is a wasteful duplication.

"In the process of getting things done quicker it's probably better to forgo it, just to do it once" handgun seller Darin Parsons said, but Parsons sees it both ways. He has no problem with the current system becasue he feels it holds people accountable.

The bill's sponsor State Representative paul Opsommer R-Dewitt was not available for comment Monday.

State police say the permit system has stopped 1,800 convicted felons and fugitives from buying guns in the last two years.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Sheeple Killer Location: USSA on Dec 7, 2012 at 04:41 PM
    I love all the comments about criminals owning guns. What the hell makes a person a criminal in the first place? If they are assaulting someone, assault is the crime. If they are stealing, stealing is the crime. If they are possessing a possessing the crime? The 2nd Amendment is clear on that. The gun shouldn't make you a criminal, the criminal actions should. Therefore, there is no need for any regulations. If you're not in jail, you should be able to have a gun.
  • by Name Location: Location on Dec 7, 2012 at 10:56 AM
    Usually do not agree with our Mayor and usually use those words to discribe him. This time I agree with him 100%
  • by Darryl Location: Curtis on Dec 6, 2012 at 05:22 PM
    Oh, be serious...have you heard recently that any gun laws have stopped CRIMINALS from getting guns? Since when do CRIMINALS OBEY GUN LAWS?
  • by John Cole Location: Eaton Rapids on Dec 5, 2012 at 01:09 PM
    Well as a fellow hand gun owner and collector i think it should be a lot harder to get a gun I have my cpl all it takes for me to get a hand gun is just take my card and buy a gun there are no restrictions i do follow the rules and never carry a gun loaded on the day to day only reason i got it is for hunting but there are a lot of crazy people in this world and i would support the restrictions but it is our right as a American to bear arms but times have changed... its a sad world we live in
  • by marty Location: Location on Dec 4, 2012 at 06:48 AM
    Bad guys will get guns from off the streets, to use in a crime. They won't use a gun thats licensed in there name.
  • by Name Location: Location on Dec 4, 2012 at 05:13 AM
    You would think lawful gun owners (like myself) would want to make sure that there are good, tight restrictions in place so that they can easily be differentiated from a criminal who bought a gun off of the street. I think gun laws are a good idea. Also Lawrence, you spelled "cajones" wrong.
  • by John Location: Lansing on Dec 4, 2012 at 03:32 AM
    Mayors Bernero et al, with all their vehemence, are sadly beginning to sound much like historical European heads of state who felt concern allowing weapons into the hands of the general populace. While he and they would say my statement is most unfair, their current gun registry, as alluded to by Mr. Redmond, which used to be thinly disguised as a "safety check", may be seen as a precursor to the knock on the door in the middle of the night. Why do they fear their own people so?
  • by Lawrence Redmond Location: Concord on Dec 3, 2012 at 04:15 PM
    As usual Bernero is talking out his Backside, with no clue what he is talking about. Those 1800 Convicted felons were stopped by the National Background check system, Not Michigan's redundant system. NOW ...Next Question? Where any of those 1800 Arrested, charged and tried and Jailed for violating the law attempting to buy a gun????? I doubt it. The law says it is a crime for them to make the attempt.. We as a nation have more than 25,000 laws regulating guns, what we don't have is prosecutors and Judges with the Kahoonies to enforce those laws...because actually enforcing them doesn't fit the Anti Gun Agenda...."Hey lets go make some more laws that only Law Abiding citizens will obey." "And put Two Guns Johnny back out on the Street with his guns so he can reek some more havoc." Michigan's current system of registering Hand guns violates the State Constitution, as according to that Constitution Michigan does not practice Firearms Registration.
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