Gun board to be eliminated, clerk’s office takes over

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Cass County Clerk’s Office is preparing for an influx of additional work in the coming months, when changes to Michigan’s concealed pistol laws take effect in December.

The county’s record keeping department submitted a request to the board of commissioners for an additional part-time employee during the board’s committee of the whole meeting Thursday in Cassopolis.

Should the request be approved, this new 20-hour-per-week position would help handle the processing of local Concealed Pistol Licenses (CPL), which will be handled primarily through clerk office’s throughout the state when new licensing policies take effect on Dec. 1.

The changes come about due to legislation signed into law by Gov. Rick Synder in March, aimed at streamlining the process through which private citizens receive permits to carry concealed handguns. Under the new policy, the three-person county gun boards that currently handle screening of applicants will be eliminated, with processing and background check duties falling on county clerk offices and Michigan State Police.

“A lot of the burden is placed on my office now,” said Cass County Clerk/Register Monica Kennedy. “People are not going to appear in front of a gun board anymore; they’re strictly going to come to our office, as they do now to apply. There’s going to be a lot of paperwork from there, with our office working with the state police and handing individuals their license.”

The county has processed just below 800 CPL applications the last several years; as of Sept. 11 this year, the clerk’s office has given out 472, Kennedy said.

Funding for the potential position would not come directly from the Cass County general fund. The funds will come from a restricted fund, dedicated solely for the purchase of new equipment and personnel for CPL related-tasks. Since June 1 of this year, $36 of each CPL issuing fees has gone into this fund, Kennedy said.

“I’m anticipating, with the number [of permits] we’re bringing in, that it’s going to be $25,000 and $35,000 a year, which would more than fund a part-time position,” Kennedy said.

The board of commissioners will vote on this request during their next meeting, on Oct. 15.