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Letter Exchange with Michigan Attorney General Jennifer M. Granholm

Originally published on this website August 13, 2001

To: Attorney General Jennifer M. Granholm
G. Mennen Williams Building, 7th floor
525 W. Ottawa St.
P.O. Box 30212
Lansing, MI 48909

Dear Attorney General,

I have been bothered by conflicting opinions concerning the Concealed carry law which took affect in Michigan on July 1, 2001. I was always under the impression that the Constitution was the supreme law of the land. If this is so and one were to read Article 1 section 6 of the Michigan Constitution, which I am sure you are aware of, it states: " Every person has a Right to keep and bear arms for the defense of himself and the state? Eighteen words, and I cannot see how people can construe different meanings to such a simple phrase.

Please give me your opinion as to the meaning of the word Right and Bear as stated in that section.

Here is one that I can agree with. The right of a citizen to bear arms, in lawful defense of himself or the State, is absolute. He does not derive it from the State government. It is one of the high powers" delegated directly to the citizen, and `is excepted out of the general powers of government.' A law cannot be passed to infringe upon or impair it, because it is above the law, and independent of the lawmaking power." [Cockrum v. State, 24 Tex. 394, at 401-402 (1859)]

Then there is the matter of a Fee of $60.00 to obtain this permit. It would seem as though this is just another scheme to acquire more money from the people, making it hard for those with limited income to purchase this permit, even if it is constitutional. From reading the ruling below I have a question as to whether it is Constitutional or not.

Federal court decision: "A state cannot impose a license, tax or fee on a constitutionally protected right. Murdock vs. Pennsylvania 319 US 105 (1942)."

Where does Michigan get the authority to impose this required license and fee on its citizens?

Now, as to the question of concealment:

"For, in principle, there is no difference between a law prohibiting the wearing of concealed arms, and a law forbidding the wearing such as are exposed; and if the former be unconstitutional, the latter must be so likewise. But it should not be forgotten, that it is not only a part of the right that is secured by the constitution; it is the right entire and complete, as it existed at the adoption of the constitution; and if any portion of that right be impaired, immaterial how small the part may be, and immaterial the order of time at which it be done, it is equally forbidden by the constitution." [Bliss vs. Commonwealth, 12 Ky. (2 Litt.) 90, at 92, and 93, 13 Am. Dec. 251 (1822)

If this is so why do we need a concealed weapons law at all?

Please bear with me, just one more question:

I and many others have a problem with a county gun board having the power to determining if you can protect yours or your loved ones life. This is another Right that is above the law, as stated in the ruling below.

The provision in the Constitution granting the right to all persons to bear arms is a limitation upon the power of the Legislature to enact any law to the contrary. The exercise of a right guaranteed by the Constitution cannot be made subject to the will of the sheriff. [People vs. Zerillo, 219 Mich. 635, 189 N.W. 927, at 928 (1922)]

How then do these gun boards have any authority to restrict or approve a request for a permit?

In researching this matter I find there are numerous rulings that show the right to bear arms should not be infringed and indeed is an individual right. I believe the Attorney General of the United States stated this only a short time ago.

If one is to believe in his/her government they must be able to rely on their representatives to follow their oath of office and protect and defend the Constitution.

Too many of our representatives seem to forget their oath and legislate away the people? freedom.

In closing let me say Happy Independence Day and I will be looking forward to your answers so I might share them with my friends.

Thank you
yours in liberty,

Roger A. Keller

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The following was sent E-Mail

From: "Roger A Keller"

To: miag@agstate.mi.us
Received: 07/26/01 08:11PM
Subject: request for answers

Dear Attorney General, Thursday, July 26,2001

On July Fourth, feeling a surge of patriotism, I sat down and composed a letter to you concerning some very important, if only to me, questions that have been bothering me for some time now. This letter was certified, restricted, mail delivery received by your agent on July 6, 2001.

I know that you and your office staff are busy with perhaps somewhat more important issues but it has been three weeks since I sent this letter, a copy of which is included, and I feel that by now I should have received an answer.

Is it that an answer to me is unimportant or do you, for some reason choose to ignore my request for answers to these questions? I hope that neither of the former is the reason and I am looking forward to hearing from you on this matter.

Yours in Liberty,

Roger A. Keller
Pittsford MI 49271

Five Weeks later I received this reply

STATE OF MICHIGAN

DEPARTMENT OF ATTORNEY GENERAL

William J. Richards
Deputy Attorney General
P.O. Box 30218
LANSING. MICHIgan 48909

JENNIFER MULHERN GRANHOLM
ATTORNEY GENERAL

August 7, 2001

Mr. Roger A. Keller
Pittsford, MI 49271

Dear Mr. Keller:

Attorney General Granholm has asked me to review and respond to your recent correspondence concerning the Michigan gun law. Your constitutional argument has no support since court cases are very clear that the right to bear arms does not affect the ability to carry a concealed weapon. The two are separate provisions and the state has every right under the law to regulate the carrying of a concealed weapon. If you do wish to carry a concealed weapon you should follow the provisions of the recently enacted concealed weapon statute, which liberally authorizes the issuance of such licenses. The fees required under the law are reasonable and barely cover the cost required to do the necessary background checks. I can assure you that this is not a profit source for any state agency.

I hope this information is helpful.

Thank you for your letter.


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