Michigan law may have been used as an example for the National Firearms Act of 1934. After Michigan law required a license to obtain a pistol in 1927, another statute was added to make it illegal to possess a short barreled rifle or shotgun in 1931.
The National Firearms Act bill originally required licensing and registration of all pistols, as well of all short barreled rifles and shotguns in 1934. Pistols were stripped from the bill by Congress, leaving the curious regulation of short barreled rifles and shotguns. Such oddities and orphans in the law are far too common.
Michigan removed their state ban on short barreled rifles and shotguns, in deference to the Federal regulation, in 2014. The bill proposes more reforms by making the pistol registration system from 1927 voluntary.
Under current law, a person cannot purchase, carry, possess, or transport a pistol in Michigan without first having obtained a license for it. The person then turns the license back in to authorities, officially registering the pistol.Registration of guns has been shown to be a very poor method of reducing crime. It enhances the belief that the purpose of the registration system is to enable confiscation at a later date. The Canadian pistol registration system was never important in solving a single homicide in 75 years of use. The Michigan system has had the same result over the last 90 years.
Chatfield's house bill 4554 would make that last step optional, and eliminate the $250 fine for not registering. It would also allow people who have already registered to request the Michigan State Police remove their information from the registry.
"There is no need for state government to maintain an exhaustive list of law-abiding citizens who legally purchase pistols," Chatfield said in a press release.
He said Michigan was one of only six states to require registration right now, and it did little to fight crime.
The bill to reform the law, HB 4554, keeps the requirement for licensing for obtaining pistols, but eliminates the requirement to register the pistol. Line outs and additions have been edited for clarity. From the bill:
The purchaser may return 1 copy of the license to the licensing authority. The purchaser may return the copy to the licensing authority in person by first-class mail or certified mail to the proper address of the licensing authority.The change is an incremental step to only eliminate the registration system. A similar bill failed to pass the legislature in 2016.