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Michigan Background Check and Gun Laws

The State of Michigan has numerous laws concerning the ownership and the carrying of firearms. Generally, federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, and agents thereof acting in an official capacity, are exempt from Michigan's firearms regulations. The Constitution of the State of Michigan of 1963 Article 1, Section 6 reads:

Every person has a right to keep and bear arms for the defense of himself and the state.

A complete listing of Michigan's firearms laws can be found in the publication "Firearms Laws of Michigan
 

"Firearm" defined

The word "firearm", except as otherwise specifically defined in the statutes, shall be construed to include any weapon from which a dangerous projectile may be propelled by using explosives, gas or air as a means of propulsion, except any smooth bore rifle or handgun designed and manufactured exclusively for propelling BB’s not exceeding .177 calibre by means of spring, gas or air.

Michigan's Attorney General has ruled that the definition of "firearm" includes a Taser.
 

Purchasing firearms in Michigan
 

No purchase license is required to purchase a long gun. According to state law, a long gun may be purchased by anyone aged 16 or over who is not subject to restrictions based on criminal or mental health history. However there is a federal age limit of 18 years for non-private purchases of long guns from federal firearms licensees. A purchase license is required to purchase a pistol, unless the purchaser has a concealed pistol license. Anyone purchasing a handgun must be at least 21 years old to purchase from a federally-licensed firearms dealer under federal law. In a private sale, the purchaser need only be aged 18 or older.
 
In Michigan, a person "shall not purchase, carry, or transport a pistol in this state without first having obtained a license for the pistol," as prescribed in MCL 28.422.

An individual must apply to their local police or sheriff's department for a purchase license before obtaining a pistol. A purchase license is not needed for an individual with a concealed pistol license. However, a NICS check must be completed by the FFL (Federal Firearms Licensee) before the transfer of the firearm. The police authority will check for any criminal record at both the state and national level. The applicant must answer gun related questions on a Basic Pistol Safety Questionnaire, with at least 70% correct, and swear before a notary that they meet the statutory requirements to own a pistol. The License to Purchase a Pistol form must be completed even though the applicant may already have possession of a pistol, such as through an inheritance. Federal firearms licensed dealers are not exempt from this section of the law and must also get a license any time they purchase/acquire a pistol from an individual or another gun dealer. There is an exemption only for dealers purchasing pistols directly from the manufacturer or wholesaler. A License to Purchase a Pistol is valid for 10 days to purchase a pistol. The seller must sign the license and keep one copy for his/her records. An individual must return to the local police department within 10 days of purchasing the pistol, return the two remaining copies of the license, and present the pistol for a Safety Inspection Certificate. Dealers are exempt from the safety inspection requirements on pistols kept solely for the purpose of resale. Some agencies require all unused license to purchase forms be returned to them for record keeping purposes. These forms are licenses to purchase a pistol and the purpose is not to circumvent the required NICS (National Instant Check System) check when buying a shotgun or rifle from an FFL dealer.

Concealed carry in Michigan

 
Michigan's concealed carry law is "shall issue", meaning that anyone over 21 may obtain a license to carry a concealed handgun if they are not prohibited from owning firearms, have not been found guilty or been accused of certain felonies or misdemeanors within a certain time period, and have completed state approved firearms training. Concealed Pistol License (CPL) holders are exempt from the obtaining a License to Purchase a Handgun; however, they must fulfill the registration requirement.

Individuals licensed to carry a concealed pistol by Michigan or another state are prohibited from carrying a concealed pistol on the following premises: Schools or school property, public or private day care center, public or private child caring agency, or public or private child placing agency, sports arena or stadium, a tavern where the primary source of income is the sale of alcoholic liquor by the glass consumed on the premises, any property or facility owned or operated by a church, synagogue, mosque, temple, or other place of worship, unless the presiding official allows concealed weapons, an entertainment facility that the individual knows or should know has a seating capacity of 2,500 or more, a hospital, a dormitory or classroom of a community college, college, or university, and casinos. "Premises" does not include the parking areas of the places listed above, excluding casino parking. A pistol is subject to immediate seizure if the CPL permit holder is carrying a pistol in a "pistol free" area.

An individual licensed to carry a concealed pistol who is stopped by a police officer (traffic stop or otherwise) while in possession of a pistol shall immediately disclose to the police officer that he or she is carrying a concealed pistol either on their person or in their motor vehicle.

On March 29, 2001, per Administrative Order 2001-1 of the Michigan Supreme Court: "Weapons are not permitted in any courtroom, office, or other space used for official court business or by judicial employees unless the chief judge or other person designated by the chief judge has given prior approval consistent with the court's written policy."

Open carry is legal in Michigan, but choosing to do so in populated areas may result in being charged with disturbing the peace or even brandishing. However then-Attorney General Jennifer Granholm released an opinion that open carrying is neither brandishing nor disturbing the peace.
 
Michigan formerly did not allow ownership of NFA firearms, though Attorney General Mike Cox has written an Attorney General's Opinion that allows for machine guns to be legally transferable to Michigan residents who comply with federal laws. Suppressors (silencers), however, are still illegal and non-transferable in Michigan.
 
Michigan prohibits the possession of Tasers or stun guns by private citizens, regardless of CPL status.
 

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