LANSING—Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday signed legislation to protect gun owners’ privacy by making firearms records confidential.
Under the new measures, firearms records are not subject to requests under the Freedom of Information Act and are available only to law enforcement officials, under certain conditions.
“Making gun ownership information public is an invasion of privacy and a threat to public safety,” said Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, sponsor of Senate Bill 834. “These laws ensure that this information stays private.”
Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, introduced SB 49 last year in response to a need for the protection of privacy. A New York newspaper had published the names and personal addresses of gun permit holders in two counties north of New York City. Casperson’s measure ensures that no such information can be released in Michigan.
Sen. Goeff Hansen, sponsor of SB 881, said the laws are about safeguarding the rights of Michigan residents.
“The Second Amendment is integral to our freedom and must be protected,” said Hansen, R-Hart. “This legislation strengthens Michigan law to ensure that all gun owners’ personal information is not jeopardized by those looking to infringe on our basic rights.”
The new laws ensure that firearms records can only be accessed or disclosed by a peace officer or other authorized individual for the following reasons:
- The individual whose firearm records are the subject of disclosure has committed an offense with the pistol that violates a state law, a law of another state or a U.S. law;
- The individual poses a threat to himself or herself or other individuals;
- The individual’s firearm was used during the commission of an offense that violates a state law, a law of another state or a U.S. law; or
- To ensure the safety of a peace officer.
A violation of the law will result in a civil infraction and possibly a $500 civil fine.
Dakota Moore, a state liaison with the National Rifle Association, thanked the sponsors of the bills.
“The NRA and its membership applaud the efforts of Senators Casperson, Hansen and Pavlov to ensure that law-abiding gun owners are protected from unwarranted scrutiny and discrimination merely for exercising their fundamental and constitutional right to keep and bear arms,” Moore said.
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