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Under Appellate Court rules, officers can ask for proof of a concealed pistol permit without any other suspicion

A new Michigan appeals court ruling means police can stop someone and ask for a concealed handgun permit if they have reason to believe the person is carrying a gun.

The case centers on a man who was arrested after three Detroit police officers noticed he may have a gun under his shirt.

The man would keep walking. But the appearance of a gun was enough for the police to stop him, pat him down and discover that he had a gun but was not licensed to do so.

His lawyer argued that the search was not justified and tried to have the search dismissed. The lower court agreed.

But the unanimous panel of the Michigan Court of Appeals cited in its opinion a handful of federal cases that found police were justified in conducting a search without a warrant.

The panel determined that under Michigan law, carrying a concealed weapon is sufficient to create the appearance of a crime in the first place.

“In Michigan, raising the issue of licensure and proving that the possession was lawful is a prima facie violation of state law that is rebuttable,” read an unpublished federal case found in the decision Michigan was cited.

A key point in the argument is that Michigan’s gun laws require concealed pistol permit holders to present their permits to law enforcement authorities when requested.

Law enforcement does not have to observe further suspicious behavior to ask about it.