There’s something afoot in Michigan which will come as welcome news to Second Amendment supporters around the nation. The state house passed a new bill this week which, if signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder, would make it legal for residents to carry their handguns concealed without needing any special permit to do so. Reuters reports that the move remains controversial, but Republicans in the state even found a few Democrats to vote with them on the measure.

Legislation to allow Michigan gun owners to carry a concealed handgun without a permit was approved in the state House of Representatives on Wednesday, in a move that follows the lead of a dozen other states.

The package of four bills, which cleared the Republican-controlled House with support from a handful of Democrats, now moves to the Senate, also dominated by Republicans.

It was not immediately clear whether Michigan’s Republican Governor Rick Snyder supports the bill. But the measure, if also approved in a Senate vote, could automatically become law 14 days after reaching the governor’s desk unless he vetoes it.

This is actually a package of four different bills. The overall effort is a good one and follows in the footsteps of similar legislation already on the books in at least eleven other states. In February, New Hampshire joined the list. (Washington Post)

New Hampshire this week passed a law allowing residents to carry a concealed handgun without a permit, joining a growing number of states that are allowing residents to carry weapons out of sight without a license.

At least 11 states have passed laws allowing the concealed carry of guns without a permit, and 16 states have introduced legislation this year to do the same, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures and the National Rifle Association. Gun rights advocates see the laws as the next frontier in Second Amendment rights.

While the idea of more accessible concealed carry is something I support, I’ll confess that even I have a few reservations about another of the bills in this Michigan package. Currently you need to have some basic firearms training to carry but this new proposal would remove that requirement. I understand how gun rights supporters bristle at the idea of any restrictions and the states have given them good reason to be suspicious. States like New York (among many others) have used the training requirement as cover to make it massively more expensive to obtain a permit, and in places like Washington, DC you often can’t even find a certified Firearms Training Instructor to meet the requirement.

The training should either be free or only charge a modest fee, with sufficient instructors available to meet the demand. But eliminating the requirement entirely is worrisome. It’s not as if we don’t have precedent for training requirements in other areas. You have to be able to demonstrate the ability to safely operate a motor vehicle before being able to drive. The same applies to many industrial applications or the ability to use hazardous chemicals and other substances. Work being done by the NRA in the training area shows that there are too many people out there who don’t know how to properly handle a weapon and haven’t made the effort to learn.

Since the Michigan bill is broken up into multiple parts, it’s possible that we could get the concealed carry portion passed but hang on to (and improve) the training portion. At least that’s how I’d like to see it play out.