Breaking the Law

For more than 9 years now, I've held a Concealed Pistol License. Most of those years, I've carried a pistol anywhere I legally could.

Once in that time span, I applied for a renewal of the License. At that time, the renewal was easy. The new license arrived before the old one expired.

This spring, I went to apply for another renewal. The line seemed longer than last time...but it's been nearly 5 years since I last stood in that office.

After I filled out the form, posed for a photo, and paid the bill, I was told that the License might not be issued within three months. However, if the application was not rejected within three months, the application itself would be valid as a temporary License after the three months expired.

The Sheriff's Deputy who pointed this out to me stamped the form with a date. He pointed out that the date of validity of the temporary License would happen about 10 days after my birthday. But the License would expire on my birthday.

Thus, the behavior which had been my daily habit for most of the last decade would be illegal. For a week and a half.

And then become legal again, after that 10-day period.

Those 10 days felt strange. Monday after my birthday, I walked out the door with a gun in its usual place. Once I arrived at the office (and placed the gun in its locked box inside the car), I remembered that my License was no longer valid. Thus, I'd broken the law by carrying the pistol concealed. But my behavior was no different than the previous week, when it had been legal.

Happily for me, the Police did not swoop in and write me a ticket for unlicensed concealed-carry of a firearm. (I think first offense is a misdemeanor, and later offenses rise to felonious status...)

Since that time, I've been edgy. Until today, when the temporary License becomes valid.

I couldn't carry legally. But I could still carry with a high probability of not being detected, either by Police or by other citizens. It was still possible that an incredibly-unlikely event could happen. I might be put into a situation in which I'd need to defend myself with lethal force; or might be questioned by Police investigating a crime.

The time of edginess is over...Until the temporary License expires. There is high probability I will receive the renewed License before that happens, but it is still possible.

This experience causes me to ask: is a License-to-carry a necessity?

It has a few perks.

  1. Any Policeman who learns that I have a CPL knows I've taken a class, spent some time on the range, and been fingerprinted.
  2. The Policeman also knows that I've passed a background check by the County Licensing Board
  3. The Policeman knows that I hadn't (at that time) been adjudicated mentally unfit.
    Nor had I been convicted, or scheduled to go to trial for, any crimes on a long list of serious felonies.  
  4. The Policeman knows I likely haven't committed a crime which would cause revocation of the License. 
  5. The License is also a shortcut past the License-to-Purchase-a-Pistol process that is in place in Michigan. 
Admittedly, statements 3 and 4 are true for something like 90% of the State population. However, less than 10% of those have a State-endorsed License to prove it.

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