As you know, consequential bills are slated for public hearing today at the state capitol. For the first time ever, in affront to free speech and the legislative process, it appears the Dem-controlled Elections Committee will not allow the public to speak at the public hearing.
PIME’s Legislative Committee worked diligently to analyze these bills. Our members have written and called their legislators to articulate the threats these bills constitute to our rights. Now, indications are that the committee will not have 'time' to hear the public present at the public hearing. They are too busy. They don't three minutes to allot to each citizen.
Below is the message from the clerk. Also enclosed is our prepared statement and the oral statement that Cynthia Richardson was planning to present. It seems Cynthia will not be allowed so much as three minutes to express an opposing position. It's not just PIME and MFE who are silenced. Stand Up Michigan, Freedom Alliance Project, and Michigan Fair Elections were speaking in unison on these vital issues.
Watch the hearing today. If Cynthia is not allowed to speak, please contact each committee member and express your outrage. Michigan House TV
The message from the clerk:
Thanks for reaching out to our office! As I mentioned on the phone with Cynthia, our committee agenda for tomorrow is incredibly busy, and the chances for your group to be able to present orally are unfortunately very low, as there will be several groups that will not have the time to present orally tomorrow due to time constraints.
With that being said, if you want to submit for the record your written opinion, included with your group’s stance on the legislation, you will absolutely have the opportunity to do so.
Thanks again for reaching out.
Rep. Penelope Tsernoglou (HD-75)
O: (517) 373-2668
Join Thursday's Zoom at Noon
PIME's Prepared Oral Argument
Feb 28th, 2023 Elections Cmte hearing, testimony on HB4127-4129:
My name is Cynthia Richardson and I am a lifelong Michigan resident. I’d like to thank the Committee for hearing testimony from the citizens of the state. It’s my understanding that some bills may have been voted on recently without so much as a committee hearing, so again I thank you for taking the time to listen to the people who will be affected by the bills this esteemed body is considering.
I am here today to speak in opposition to House Bills 4127, 4128 and 4129.
This statement, submitted by Pure Integrity for Michigan Elections, known as PIME, comes with the support of Stand Up Michigan, Michigan Fair Elections, and the Freedom Alliance Project. PIME is a peaceful, issuebased, nonpartisan political movement. We welcome all who support election integrity and the US and Michigan Constitutions.
Beginning with HB4127/4128, I would like to start off with this astounding, yet well documented statistic. 96% of all mass shootings between 1998 and 2018 happened in areas declared as ‘gun free zones’ (crimeresearch.org-mass-shootings in gun free zones). That’s 96% of mass shootings happen in areas declared ‘gun free zones’. 96%.
A mass murderer has already decided to commit a much more heinous crime, that of murder. To suggest that a ‘gun free zone’ sign will dissuade them is absurd, and the 96% statistic proves this point.
Criminals choose these sites because they know there will be less resistance at these locations. Does everyone here have a driver’s license? Own and drive a car? You went through certified driver’s training and had to pass a test to earn that right.
The CPL process is more rigorous. One has to take a class, pass a test, submit fingerprints, pass a background check and wait several weeks to be issued a CPL. CPL holders are responsible gun owners. They do not want to lose this privilege. Think about it. Anyone can buy a car even if you don’t take drivers’ training or pass the driver’s test. This is not the case for CPL holders.
Not everyone can legally purchase a firearm and not everyone is granted a CPL.
Some drivers have used a car as a weapon. According to the logic of this proposed bill, one could argue cars should not be allowed 100 feet of a polling station which would violate the rights of seniors and physically challenged voters. Banning of inanimate objects is not a solution.
We at PIME want safer communities, including all polling and voting locations, and this is accomplished by letting concealed carry licensees carry their firearms if they choose. Here are a few statistics for your consideration:
• A 2013 survey of 130 researchers (80 criminologists and 50 economists) by John Lott & Criminologist Gary Mauser showed CPL (Concealed Pistol License) holders are much more law-abiding than the typical American and that allowing CPL holders to carry their firearms results in lower murder rates.
• A research study performed by David Mustard at the University of Georgia found that concealed handgun permits tend to lead to fewer police deaths. o “The Impact of Law and Economics (October 2001): 635-657
• Another study published in the October 2001 Journal of Law Economics found that letting law abiding citizens carry guns reduces the rate that criminals carry guns, thus making it safer for police and civilians alike.
House Bill 4127 would create a 100 foot ‘gun free’ zone around all ballot drop boxes. Many of these are curbside. This means anyone driving down the road or walking on the sidewalk would be committing a misdemeanor if they carry a firearm within the perimeter. In many cases the person may not even know they are walking or driving past a drop box. This is ridiculous, especially considering that ‘gun free’ zones don’t make anyone safer.
While PIME would like to see HB4127 and HB4128 not brought for a vote at all, at the very least, it is our request that these bills have a provision to exclude CPL holders. At least restrict this bill to those who brandish a firearm.
Lastly, both state and federal court has recently ruled against these types of prohibitions.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled on this subject just last May. The recent Bruen decision by SCOTUS disallows states from prohibiting the bearing of firearms in public, unless such a prohibition applies to a limited number of “sensitive places” such as courthouses and schools. In his opinion, Justice Thomas made it clear that states must not abuse the “sensitive places” exemption by applying it too broadly. The proposed legislation, at a bare minimum, abuses the “sensitive places” exemption of this ruling.
A Michigan court struck down this idea in October of 2020, so why are progressives trying to push this unlawful concept again, especially in light that making an area a ‘gun free’ zone does NOT make it safer? (michigan-judge-blocks-ban-on-open-carry-of-guns-at-polls-on-election-day)
Regarding HB4129, we absolutely cannot start making people felons if someone else--in this case the election official--says that their feelings were hurt. This is exactly what HB4129 would allow.
Intimidation is already illegal. Courts have ruled on that. But this bill goes too far. It says "Intimidate" means to commit harassing conduct that would cause a reasonable individual to feel terrorized, frightened, threatened, harassed, or molested.”
Well, I’m frightened by this bill! Does that make you all felons?
If I say something at a voting location that offends or frightens an election official, am I now subject to felony charges, incarceration for a minimum of 1 year, and $250,000 in fines if an election official claims they "feel" intimidated? We cannot start prosecuting people based upon other people’s feelings. Besides violating the 1st amendment of our Constitution, this sort of legislation can open doors for groups of people to be attacked for their beliefs (poll watchers and challengers come to mind). We already have laws preventing intimidation and assault. We have legal methods in place to handle difficult individuals at polling locations or anywhere else for that manner. HB4129 needs to be struck down entirely. If not, we have to question if this bill’s actual intent is to discourage honest, hardworking citizens from exercising their duty to oversee fair elections.
I’ll close with the statistic stated earlier, 96% of mass shooting occur in ‘gun free’ zones, 96%.
Expanding ‘gun free zones’ to include voting locations will only make them more dangerous.
Please do NOT bring these bills to a vote, and if you do, please provide an exclusion for CPL holders. We want people to be SAFER in their communities, not LESS SAFE. And we want our freedoms of expression and the right to bear arms to be preserved.
Please do not approve this affront to the First and Second Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
Written Statement: House Hearing, Feb. 28, 2023
Bill Richardson, Pure Integrity for Michigan Elections
In support: Stand Up Michigan, Freedom Alliance Project, Michigan Fair Elections
Before the Michigan House Standing Committee on Elections,
Representative Tsernoglou, Chair
Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023, 10:30 AM, Room 327, House Office Building, Lansing, MI
Committee Clerk: Edward Sleeper
Phone: (517) 373-2002
This statement, submitted by Pure Integrity for Michigan Elections, comes with the support of Stand Up Michigan, the Freedom Alliance Project and Michigan Fair Elections. PIME is a peaceful, issue-based, nonpartisan political movement. We welcome all who support election integrity and the US and Michigan Constitutions.
HB 4033(Rep. Paiz)
Elections; special elections; state to reimburse costs for certain special elections; require.
PIME POSITION: NO POSITION
HB 4127(Rep. Tsernoglou)
Weapons; other; possession of firearms at a polling place; prohibit.
PIME POSITION: OPPOSE. Declaring areas as ‘gun free’ does NOT make them safer. In fact, it makes them more dangerous. A full 96% of all mass shootings between 1998 and 2018 occurred in so called ‘gun free’ zones (crimeresearch.org). We want voters to feel safe, so we oppose this bill. If it does pass, we respectfully request that an exception be made for CPL licensees as these individuals statistically reduce crime and are some of the most law-abiding citizens in the country.
The Supreme Court has ruled on this subject. The recent Bruen decision by the U.S. Supreme Court disallows states from prohibiting the bearing of firearms in public, unless such a prohibition applies to a limited number of “sensitive places” such as courthouses and schools. In his opinion, Justice Thomas made it clear that states must not abuse the “sensitive places” exemption by applying it too broadly. The proposed legislation, at a bare minimum, abuses this “sensitive places” exemption for the reasons that PIME has made plain.
Also, regarding the ballot drop box provision, many drop-boxes are located curbside, which would mean anyone driving down the road or walking on the sidewalk guilty of a misdemeanor if they are legally carrying a firearm. In many cases the person may not even know they are walking or driving past a drop box.
HB 4128(Rep. Young)
Weapons; other; firearms within 100 feet of an absentee ballot counting board while ballots are being counted; prohibit.
PIME POSITION: OPPOSE. Same reasons as for HB4127.
HB 4129(Rep. Hope)
Elections; offenses; intimidating an election inspector or preventing an election inspector from performing his or her duties; prohibit.
PIME POSITION: OPPOSE. This bill would make someone a felon and subject them to sentencing of five years in prison on the mere fact that someone claimed their feelings were hurt. We already have laws to protect people from assault and from intimidation. We cannot start criminalizing people based upon other’s professed feelings. This directly violates the 1st amendment right to free speech. It appears intended to have a chilling effect on citizen exercising their duties to oversee and ensure fair and honest elections. Redefining the term intimidation is dangerous.
Anti-intimidation laws already exist. As recently October 2020, the courts struck down a version of HB 4129. The Detroit Free Press reported on the ruling.
“Voter intimidation is — and remains — illegal under current Michigan law” the panel said.
HB 4130(Rep. Hope)
Criminal procedure; sentencing guidelines; sentencing guidelines for certain Michigan election law violations dealing with intimidating an election official; provide for.
PIME POSITION: OPPOSE. The bill only is applicable if HB4129 is passed, which we have already opposed. Again, we don’t condone making someone a felon and putting them in prison simply because someone claimed their feelings were hurt.
Bill Richardson, Chair,
Pure Integrity for Michigan Elections
Stand Up Michigan
Freedom Alliance Project
Michigan Fair Elections