DETROIT — Michigan State Police statistics show that the area surrounding metropolitan Detroit has some of the lowest per capita legal handgun ownership in the state.

Police statistics from Oct. 2 show that rates for approved concealed pistol licenses were 68 firearms per every 1,000 residents in Macomb, 62 in Wayne and 61 in Oakland County. The area is often maligned for its level of violence.

A Detroit Free Press analysis found those rates were nearly half the rate of legal gun ownership of more rural parts of Michigan, such as Alcona, Keweenaw and Montmorency counties. Those counties tallied approved licenses rates of 122, 119 and 114 per 1,000 residents, respectively.

The police data contained county-by-county numbers of concealed pistol licenses approved in 2017, as well as those pending, rejected and surrendered. The data do not include weapons obtained illegally.

Lawmakers have debated the issue of gun ownership in recent months while considering legislation that would allow lawful gun owners to carry concealed weapons without a permit or state-mandated training.

About 40 bills are pending in the state Legislature regarding firearms, ranging from requirements for concealed carry licenses to whether firefighters and medical first responders should be exempt from firearms regulations.

Right now, Michigan gun owners who want to carry a concealed weapon must first obtain a permit from their county clerk, which requires taking a training course and paying a fee. The permit is valid for five years. Clerks can deny the request for reasons that include criminal records and mental health histories.


Information from: Detroit Free Press, http://www.freep.com