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GENESEE COUNTY, Michigan — For Kurt Weiss, it all came down to one vote.

 

If Genesee County Assistant Prosecutor Tim Cassady voted yes, Weiss got to keep his concealed pistol license. If it was a no, then the Flint man had a tough choice to make:

 

Give up his license to carry a concealed weapon or forfeit his medical marijuana card.

 

9735544-large.jpgView full sizeRyan Garza | The Flint JournalMichigan State Police Lt. Stephen Sipes Genesee (left) and County Sheriff's Lt. Matthew Rule go over some issues they have with a CCW applicant during a gun board meeting at the Genesee County Clerks office in Flint.Weiss, 36, was ticketed in September for failing to tell a police officer he had his gun on him. To have his license reinstated after a six-month suspension, he was called into a recent meeting of the county’s concealed weapon licensing board.

 

His is just one of 200 licenses that members of the Genesee County gun board had before them to review at a recent meeting.

 

The board is one of the busiest in the state, meeting twice per month in a clerk’s office conference room — but rarely does anyone from the public take notice.

 

In counties across the state, gun boards are tasked with carrying out the state law. They depend on a process of record keeping that is filled with spotty reporting and lax oversight, a Booth Michigan investigation found.

 

For example, boards across the state regularly neglect to file required year-end reports to the state — including Genesee County last year.

 

Their job is not easy.

 

The law thrusts a hefty workload on local boards with limited resources. Counties collect $41 of the $105 application fee.

 

“My personal opinion is that the county doesn’t get a fair share of that fee considering that all the record keeping is done here,” said Doreen Fulcher, elections supervisor at the clerk’s office. “In the month of March 2011, we processed almost 600 applications. And we have a staff of four.”

 

The county has nearly 14,000 people approved to carry concealed weapons — trailing only Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties, the Booth investigation found.

 

The gun board includes a group of officials representing the sheriff, prosecutor, county clerk and state police. It meets twice a month to approve, deny, revoke or suspend licenses to carry a concealed weapon, called CCWs for short.

 

When board members aren’t meeting with license holders or applicants, they go through applications and renewals — pre-reviewed by the clerk’s representative — with an assembly line precision.

 

Unlike some counties, Genesee’s clerk, prosecutor and sheriff send representatives to the meeting rather than appearing themselves.

 

Genesee County Sheriff’s Capt. Chris Swanson and Michigan State Police Sgt. Jeff Bauermeister regularly look to Cassady for questions about laws and violations.

 

The pounding of rubber stamps on paper sets the tempo in the room like a metronome.

 

“I need to get new ink,” Swanson says at one point.

 

Deputy Clerk Cathy Cole represents the clerk’s office, which doesn’t vote but handles the bulk of paperwork and clerical duties.

 

Gun boards across the state tend to have their own style. For example, some make all applicants show up in person. In Genesee County, the board calls applicants in for unusual or contentious cases — like Weiss’s.

 

If the Genesee County board was ever a stiff, formal affair, those conventions were abandoned long ago.

 

“Why would a guy born in 1922 want a CCW?” Bauermeister says of one application. “Where’s he gonna go?”

 

Typically only a handful of current or aspiring CCW holders appear in person each month. Weiss was one of four at the April meeting.

 

The board denied the woman and man with convictions, but approved the man whose brother raised concerns.

 

“I don’t find anything (that merits a revocation),” Swanson said, before turning to question the applicant.

 

“Why do you want a CCW, sir?” Swanson asked.

 

“Self protection,” he responded.

 

“Can’t disagree with that,” Swanson said.

 

Weiss’s case would normally be a run-of-the-mill suspension for the board. Then the medical marijuana issue came to light and behooved the board to take a stand.

 

Genesee County Sheriff’s Capt. Chris Swanson voted yes. Michigan State Police Sgt. Jeff Bauermeister voted no, based on advice from MSP’s legal council.

 

With their split vote, the decision on whether Weiss’s license should be reinstated was left up to Cassady.

 

Cassady told Weiss he’s checked with the U.S. Attorney’s office, which assures him they have no intention of prosecuting against CCW holders violating federal law by following the medical marijuana law Michigan voters passed in 2008.

 

“So based upon that, since you’re in compliance with state law ... it’s the position of the prosecutor to vote yes,” Cassady said.

 

Weiss breathed a sigh of relief. He didn’t expect things to work out in his favor.

 

“I was a little caught off-guard by your decision,” he said. “So thank you.”

 

It was all in a day’s work for the county’s gun board.

Edited by Hempcheff
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Yah, they do NOT want to rile up the NRA (those people have guns...(and are willing to use '2nd Amendment Solutions')) :abe::money:

Very true, I've said before I think MM community needs to unite with gunnies. We're both fighting a "regulation" at some level, all we both want to say is "GTFO OF MY LIFE!". That way, maybe 4+ million strong (now with Teamsters backing club employees)

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