County gun boards were eliminated last week per a new state law, leaving concealed pistol license (CPL) applications in the hands of county clerks and state police.
County sheriffs and prosecutors are no longer part of the CPL process, per Public Acts 3 and 4, which Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law last March. County clerks and the Michigan State Police (MSP) are now responsible for issuing CPLs to qualified applicants.
The basic process for applying for a CPL remains the same, with residents needing to visit their county clerk’s office to begin the process. The MSP will then verify — through the Law Enforcement Information Network and National Instant Criminal Background Check System — that the applicant meets certain statutory requirements. Police will report all statutory disqualifications to county clerks.
Among other changes, CPL applications must now be processed within 45 days, instead of the previous eight week timeframe allowed gun boards. The CPL application fee is also increasing from $105 to $115 to offset costs. Clerk offices will keep $26 of the application fee for the CPL Fund and $15 for fingerprinting. The remaining $74 will go to the state for the MSP.
Montcalm County Clerk Kristen Millard said the changes will impact her office’s workflow, but she anticipates it to be positive and efficient.
“Overall, I think the process will be easier for the applicant, and my office,” she said. “It makes one-stop shopping for the applicant. They only come to my office once, to make an application. They no longer have to come back to pick the license up in the office.”
In the old system, the clerk’s office accepted CPL applications; sent the applicant to the sheriff’s office for fingerprinting; waited for the sheriff’s office to conduct a background check and for mental health officials to conduct a check of their records; then sent applications to the gun board for approval or denial.
The Montcalm County gun board last met on Nov. 18 and had 104 CPL applications to review, including several restoration of firearms rights applications. Millard said under the new law, her office can issue CLP permits as they receive them instead of the lengthy process of issuing 100 or more in one day.
Ionia County Clerk Tonda Rich said her county’s gun board met for the last time last Monday.
“As with any change, we are learning the new process,” she said. “We may encounter a few hiccups until we get it down pat, but I am pretty confident that we will catch on to this new process quickly. I do not foresee any added work for my staff with this change, other than a little more data entry.”
CPL applications in Ionia and Montcalm counties
• 2010: 451
• 2011: 400
• 2012: 586
• 2013: 879
• 2014: 638
• 2015 (to date): 526
• 2010: 195
• 2011: 392
• 2012: 496
• 2013: 969
• 2014: 740
• 2015 (to date): 635
Source: County clerk offices