Letter Exchange with Michigan Attorney General
Jennifer M. Granholm
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
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
yours in liberty,
Roger A. Keller
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The following was sent E-Mail
From: "Roger A Keller"
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
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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