Why It Matters: Legislation pertaining to the ownership and possession of firearms continues to be a popular topic throughout the Midwest, and around the country. CSF continues to engage on both pro and anti-sportsmen legislation pertaining to firearms. Given both the importance of firearms to many outdoor pursuits, as well as their critical role in supporting conservation efforts through the American System of Conservation Funding, sportsmen and women must remain aware of pending firearm legislation in their state.
- The 2023 Midwestern Legislative Sessions have seen a higher than typical number of firearm-related bills, with both potential positive and negative impacts for sportsmen and women.
- On behalf of sportsmen and women across the region, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) continues to engage in efforts to protect and advance our time-honored outdoor traditions.
- This past week, CSF has engaged on bills related to state firearm preemption laws in Oklahoma and efforts to require firearm owners to possess a state-issued firearms license in Michigan.
This week, several pieces of legislation related to firearms were on the move across the Midwest.
Beginning in Oklahoma, members of the House Committee on Public Safety held a hearing for House Bill 2041. As originally introduced, HB 2041 would have amended Oklahoma’s current firearm preemption laws to allow municipalities with more than 60,000 residents to enact their own ordinances related to the ownership and possession of certain firearms. During the Committee’s hearing on HB 2041, an amendment that stripped the language intended to undermine current firearm preemption laws was adopted, effectively defeating this effort.
Prior to this hearing, CSF worked with members of the Oklahoma Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus to share information regarding state firearm preemption laws and their role in safeguarding opportunities for sportsmen and women. This was on display in many states across the country during the COVID-19 pandemic during which some municipalities across the country attempted to use the pandemic as an opportunity to force firearm retailers to close. Fortunately, states with strong preemption language prevented these efforts from being successful.
Elsewhere in Michigan, CSF attended Committee hearings to express opposition to Senate Bill 76 and House Bill 4138. If passed, these bills would create a state firearm licensing system, requiring law-abiding firearm owners to acquire a state-issued firearm owners license or risk being in violation of state law upon the bill’s effective date. In addition to written testimony submitted to Committee members, CSF expressed opposition to these bills to Michigan legislators, highlighting that such a licensing system would create an unnecessary burden for law-abiding sportsmen and women. Likewise, as written, SB 76 and HB 4139 would prevent those not in possession of a license from possessing a firearm outside of a recognized shooting range, potentially undermining hunter recruitment opportunities for many potential sportsmen and women. Both Michigan bills are still being considered at this time, but CSF will provide updates on their status as they continue through the legislative process.