Bill would mandate checks before gun rentals

Michigan

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Planned legislation could close what some call a gun safety loophole that allows people to rent guns without a background check.

“I hope to plug up this loophole,” state Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, said.

Under a bill he’s working on, anyone renting a gun would need a concealed pistol license, a permit to purchase or would have to undergo a check through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

Jones said he started working on the legislation after the recent murder of Rachel Duncan outside of a Lansing-area Joann Fabrics. Her ex-boyfriend, Timothy Olin, had lost rights to own gun due to a judge’s order. He then went to a pawn shop and attempted to buy another handgun, but a criminal background check stopped the sale. However, he was able to rent a gun at a shooting range and then walk out with it. Authorities say he used that weapon to kill Duncan, then himself. 

“I’m sure most ranges watch you so that you don’t walk off with it, but there are going to be times when people walk away with guns and that’s got to be stopped,” Jones said.

“Well, I mean, you can only install so many airbags in a car, if you want to use that analogy, to make sure bad people don’t do bad things,” said Mark Jacobson, the owner of Today’s Weapons, which trains people to safely handle weapons.  

Jacobson also worked for the sheriff’s office for almost 30 years. He says if it saves a life, he’s all for Jones’ bill, but there are big questions about how it would work.

Currently, shooting ranges don’t have the authority to run a background check through NICS. That’s only permitted when selling a gun. Jacobson doesn’t know how the planned legislation would work logistically.

Jones said he is working with Michigan State Police on the bill and says that agency would handle the checks.

The bill has not yet been introduced into the state Legislature.

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