Contact: Nick Buggia, Senior Coordinator, Upper Midwestern States Manager
Why it Matters: Similar legislation has been popping up around the country in response to restrictions established during the COVID-19 pandemic. HB 5187 & 5188 would protect the firearms industry and the Second Amendment rights of Michigan citizens during another pandemic or similar emergency. This legislation ensures that executive orders issued during an emergency cannot be used to undermine the firearms industry and the ability of Michigan’s citizens to acquire and use firearms. Citizens should have the means to participate in activities that are safe, improve mental health and physical health, and help to provide food security for themselves, their family, and community.
It was reported earlier that the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation testified in support of House Bills 5187 & 5188, sponsored by several Michigan Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus members. These bills have now moved out of committee and are currently on second reading in the House. These bills would limit the state’s ability to place restrictions on the firearm industry during a state of emergency. This bill package accomplishes this by amending the “Emergency Management Act” and “Public Health Code” to disallow future emergency orders to “prohibit, suspend, or limit” the firearm industry and Second Amendment rights of Michigan residents. This type of legislation has been introduced and passed in several states in response to many of the emergency orders we saw across the country during the COVID-19 pandemic. While Michigan did not see such restrictions during the pandemic, these types of restrictions were seen in surrounding states.
During the early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, Michigan prohibited the use of motorized boats. Fortunately, the prohibition was soon lifted after the sportsmen’s community in the state rallied in opposition. These bills are designed to prevent future unnecessary prohibitions and ensure that sportsmen and women can continue to participate in outdoor activities. Protecting the Second Amendment rights of Michiganders, especially during times of emergency, is essential and helps to improve both physical and mental wellness, promotes social distancing, and can help ensure food security in uncertain times.
The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation and partners have supported similar bills as a step to safeguard our Second Amendment rights during emergencies. We will continue to support these bills and update you as they progress through the legislative process.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?