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Rental gun measure makes progress in Senate


State Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, is working with gun rights advocates to finalize legislation to regulate firearm rentals in the state.

The effort results from the theft of a rental gun in March from the shooting range at Total Firearms, in Holt, that was later used in murder-suicide, police said.

Jones said gun-rights advocates were concerned an early version of his legislation would stop those learning how to use a gun from renting. Under Jones’ first legislative draft, people seeking to rent a gun would have been required to have a concealed carry permit, a permit to purchase a gun or an instant background check.

“They said that would leave out a lot of people who are just learning and don’t yet own a gun,” Jones said. “So I am adding a provision which would require the shooting range to have a range safety officer on duty and in control at all times.”

The move comes after Lansing Township Police alleged that on March 26, Timothy Olin, 30, stole a rental gun from Total Firearms in Mason. He allegedly used the weapon to murder his ex-girlfriend, Rachel Duncan, 25, inside the JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts store on Saginaw Highway before killing himself.

An investigation by City Pulse in April found that range officers at the Total Firearms indoor range were inattentive. A lawyer for the company said at the time that the business was taking additional steps to increase security at the range and store, although he declined to discuss those actions on the record, citing concerns about revealing the security measures. City Pulse agreed not to publish those details.

The rental issue was identified by state lawmakers right after the killing as a “loop hole” in need of fixing. State Rep. Robert Wittenberg, D-Huntington Woods, introduced legislation in the State House May 3. The legislation would require renters to undergo an instant background check before renting a gun.

“The rules for renting a firearm should mirror the rules for buying one. You need a criminal background check to buy them from a federally licensed dealer in Michigan, so you should need that to rent one, too,” Wittenberg said in press release. “That’s not the case right now, and it creates a dangerous loophole that has already led to tragic consequences. We need to pass this legislation immediately to prevent criminals from taking advantage of this loophole again.”


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