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A Republican state Senator thinks it should be harder to rent guns

Apr 18, 2018

Republican state Senator Rick Jones says he’s working on bills to make it more difficult to rent hand guns at shooting ranges, and add some reporting requirements if a person trying to buy guns fails a background check.

Chiefly, Jones wants gun rentals to require a background check.  

Jones says there’s currently not much regulation about renting handguns. He says he was motivated to close a gun rental loophole after a Lansing-area man with a criminal record rented a handgun from Total Firearms shooting range, stole it, and used the weapon to kill his girlfriend and himself.

The Lansing State Journal reports employees at Total Firearms didn’t know the gun was missing until police informed them.

“With commonsense reform, we can prevent similar senseless situations,” Jones said.

Jones said when the shooter had tried to buy a gun earlier, but he was stopped after the dealer ran a criminal background check.

The Lansing City Pulse recently reported another incident at Total Firearms in 2016, when a convicted felon on probation rented a gun using a “prison ID card” as identification. Eventually the mistake was realized, Total Firearms staff called police, and the man was arrested.

“How many bad examples do we need to see this as a loophole we need to plug?” Jones said. "For that person that occasionally wants to go out and rent a gun, I think we have to be very careful that bad people don’t have access.”

A man who answered the phone at Total Firearms on Wednesday respectfully said, “We don’t have anything to say to any reporters right now, sir.”

Jones also wants to make it a requirement for gun dealers and shooting ranges to notify the police if someone trying to obtain a firearms fails a NICS background check.

Jones also wants to make it a misdemeanor if someone who’s had their CPL suspended fails to turn over their license to a county clerk.  Jones says he hopes to introduce a package of bills “within the next month.” He hopes for support in the legislature.

“I hope that this is so commonsense that I will have widespread support, but there’s always some people that don’t believe there should be any restrictions on anything,” Jones said.