- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 4, 2015

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation Wednesday giving Michigan State Police rather than counties the authority to approve concealed weapons licenses.

The bills are similar to measures Snyder vetoed in January, but they do not include a provision allowing some people with personal protection orders against them to get concealed weapons licenses. Opponents were concerned that such a provision could increase the risk of violence for domestic abuse victims who have sought protection orders.

“These bills streamline how we issue concealed pistol licenses, creating a uniform system that will better support the rights of firearm owners in Michigan,” Snyder said in statement. “I appreciate that the Legislature revamped this legislation, removing any unintended consequences that could have put domestic abuse victims in danger.”

The two bills speed up the issuance and renewal of concealed carry permits. County licensing boards will be eliminated, and state police will instead have the responsibility for verifying whether an applicant is eligible. State police and county clerks will be responsible for providing permits, starting Dec. 1.

The law removes the ability to deny a license to someone not explicitly disqualified by law but who still might pose a safety risk. Opponents have said an important safeguard will be taken away.

The legislation’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Mike Green of Mayville, said gun boards very rarely use such discretion and, when they do, the denials can be easily challenged in court.

There are nearly 460,000 concealed weapons licenses in the state, according to the state police. In 2014, there were more than 114,000 new applications and renewals.

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