LANSING- A bill to allow firearm owners to carry unloaded weapons in their trunks, even if they don't have a hunting license, looks likely to pass the House.
Rep. Tim Moore, R-Farwell, the sponsor, said many well-meaning people are unintentionally breaking the present law.
"We want to make sure that law-abiding citizens don't face penalties," said Moore, calling it a "common sense bill."
The bill would require that guns be unloaded "in both barrel and magazine and be carried in the trunk of a vehicle."
Currently, gun owners who are transporting their guns must either have a hunting license or be en route to or from a "rifle or target range, trap or skeet shooting ground, or archery range." Violations carry a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $250 fine.
That destination provision makes the law unenforceable, said Sam Washington, executive director of the Michigan United Conservation Clubs.
"I could say I was going out to a range, and the officer would have no way of knowing," he said.
Gov. Jennifer Granholm supports the bill and will sign it if it comes to her desk, said Heidi Watson, communications specialist for the governor's office. "It simplifies current regulations."
There are 23 co-sponsors, including Reps. William Van Regenmorter, R-Georgetown Township; Tom Meyer, R-Bad Axe; Barbara Vander Veen, R-Allendale; and Joel Sheltrown, D-West Branch. The bill is before the House Conservation, Forestry and Outdoor Recreation Committee.
Chair Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, also a co-sponsor, said he expected the bill to sail through committee and pass the House, because he and Moore have seen no significant opposition.
"Nobody's come forward to me to say that they're against it," said Moore.
Casperson said he planned to schedule a hearing in February.