LANSING (WWJ/AP) – The Michigan House has passed a package of four bills that would make concealed pistol licenses optional for people living in the state.

The primary bill passed 59 to 49 Wednesday while others passed on similar votes.

They would remove the restriction of requiring a license to carry a concealed pistol and let people voluntarily get education or training (or not) since a permit would not be required.

WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick reports the legislation also undoes a state law that also requires mandatory background checks and training.

“This is a classic gun legislative battle, if you will, between the anti-gun folks and the NRA — and so far the NRA is winning,” Skubick said. “A question mark in this debate, however, remains Governor Snyder. He’s not the pro-gun lobby guy that the NRA would like to have. He’s vetoed gun bills before; the question is will he veto this one?”

Rep. Michelle Hoitenga, a Republican from Manton, says she knows of law-abiding citizens without licenses who get in trouble when their clothing accidentally covers their pistol when they are open-carrying.

Northern Michigan Republican Lee Chatfield says the legislation will make communities safer.

“I wholeheartedly believe allowing law-abiding citizens the opportunity to have the same freedoms that criminals already do in the state will make our communities safer,” he said.

Opponents, however, say not requiring concealed pistol licenses — and the training required to get them — could pose dangers to police and the public.

Kalamazoo Democrat Jon Hoadley pushed colleagues to vote no.

“What I’ve seen is the outpouring of folks who raise serious concerns about people without training may now bring very powerful and potentially dangerous tools around their children unbeknownst to them,” Hoadley said.

The bills now go to the state Senate.

© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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