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Special Report: Permit to Purchase
(NEWSCHANNEL 3) - As we already know, the deadly shootings in Colorado and Connecticut have the U.S. examining its relationship with guns.
But how easy is it to buy a gun in Michigan? Newschannel 3 took it upon ourselves to find out.
In a nutshell, we've found that it's easy to buy a gun in Michigan, but some people in our community are making sure that those guns don't end up in the wrong hands.
We followed along with 22-year-old Wally Shaver. It was the first time Shaver has ever bought a gun, and the first time he has ever fired one.
In a matter of minutes, Shaver fills out an application and answers a few questions.
"The more complete your form is, the easier it is to get through the process," a worker advises him.
If you answer 'yes' to any of the questions, such as, "are you a convicted felon," you're disqualified.
For Shaver, that wasn't the hard part.
He hit a snag during the background check with the FBI--the information he just filled out ran through the National Instant Check System.
"Man, did I do something I don't know about?" Shaver asked. "How far does it look back?"
In less than a minute, though, we had our answer. Shaver was good to proceed.
Joel Fulton, the owner of Freedom Firearms says there's an extra step you don't have to take anymore in Michigan--the permit to purchase--something you were required to pick up at your area police department before you could buy a gun.
"Rather than duplicating the process, Governor Snyder said if you're buying from a commercial entity, you don't need a permit to purchase," he explained. "You would still need to go down to your local police department and transfer between two private individuals."
There are cases, though, were the background check isn't required at all, such as an exchange between father and son.
Despite these measures, sometimes guns still fall into the wrong hands, however.
Pastor Michael Scott, with Galilee Baptist Church, says there are ways to prevent those guns from getting in the wrong hands in the first place.
He and several pastors in the Kalamazoo area signed a letter to state lawmakers asking them to pass stricter gun laws.
"We felt instead of being on the reactive side, we wanted to be on the proactive side when it comes to gun violence," Pastor Scott said.
The measure he thinks needs the most attention is to include a mental health background check and red flag those at highest risk of violence.
"They need to know there's a red flag; we need to close this sale and let's not proceed; there need to be systems in place," he said.
For Shaver, after passing all the checks, he gets to take his new purchase home right away.
The biggest test he hopes to pass next is to be a good father to his new family.
He thinks protecting them is the right way to start.
CBS News reports that Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill are working on proposing legislation to strengthen the mental health reporting from the states to the Federal Background Check system, making it more difficult for people with a history of mental illness to get a gun.