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It's Time to Opt-Out of Handgun Registration. Here's How.

The information contained in this page is not legal advice. We are not lawyers, if you'd like individualized legal advice, we'd be happy to refer you to some Law Practices with known firearm specializations.  Also, we can not control that you can be arrested or cited for engaging in 100% lawful activity as it happens everyday for all sorts of activities or actions. All we can do is relay what the law says and what case law dictates , or what it does not dictate.

This article has nothing to do with carrying a concealed pistol or with carrying a pistol in a vehicle. This article deals ONLY with the various aspects of licenses to purchase/possess and registration.

Michigan is one of those pesky states with handgun registration. It's been around since about 1913,  which even predates New York's by about 18 years and Hawaii's draconian registration requirement by about 35 years or so. Michigan was the first jurisdiction in the United States to have handgun registration.

In 1927, Michigan transferred handgun registration from the county level to the state level as part of Act 372 of 1927. One section of that act, Sec. 12 (now MCL 28.432), includes multiple exemptions to Sec. 2 (now MCL 28.422), which is what contains the provisions for registration.

MCL 28.432 lists exemptions to the entire statute.

One well known exemption is for antique firearms ; which are defined in MCL 28.432(1)(h). Another exemption is that a CPL holder can possess any handgun that is registered to another person, this is found in MCL 28.432(1)(i).

Most people exercise the above two exemptions on a daily basis with little concern; however, there is a third relevant exemption found in MCL 28.432(1)(f) which states,

  "A United States citizen holding a license to carry a pistol concealed upon his or her person issued by another state."

MCL 28.432(1)(f) provides for an easy way to be exempt from the entire registration process, just as antique firearms are exempt and just as CPL holders who possess any other registered pistol are exempt. Some people brush this off as a "loophole"; however, this language is almost completely unchanged since from its inception in 1927. In fact, Act 372 of 1927 has undergone many changes over the decades but this exemption has only changed by one word. About a decade ago, the word "person" was replaced with "United States Citizen"; however, there is little doubt that a lawful alien would be denied this exemption under an equal protection challenge.

Some people utilize this exemption while some others are timid to exercise it. Overall, this exemption is not widely known and most gun owners are simply unaware of it. At the same time, this exemption has been subjected to much debate on the internet.

Just as it was common for gun owners to be told that Open Carry was either illegal or "untested" as little as a decade ago, the same crowd doesn't think this exemption means what it says it means. One of the most common critiques is that the law was an "error".

Those naysayers who think it was an error simply do not have the facts of history on their side. The original wording of this act had this same exemption in Section 12, however, back then the out of state carry permit exempted one from much more than just not registering. The exemption originally exempted one from registration, obtaining a CPL, the silencer ban, the brass knuckle ban, the 16 round mag limit, the machine gun and the ban of carrying a double sided knife concealed or in a vehicle.

Back in 1927, meeting this exemption was almost impossible as very few states issued concealed carry licenses. The closest were Iowa and New York. In fact, the only shall issue states at that time were New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

Today, any lawful gun owner can obtain many state's licenses simply via mail. I recommend visiting www.handgunlaw.us to get a complete breakdown of non-resident permits. Below are two examples.

Arizona will issue to any person 21 years of age (19 for military) who is not prohibited by federal law from possessing a firearm. You will need to submit a fingerprint card, as well as proof of training OR a copy of a carry license from another state where you had to complete training in order to obtain the license. More info can be found here.  

People under 21 may wish to obtain a license from Maine. The Maine State Police will issue to any person 18 years of age who meets their requirements. Maine requires a photo, proof of training within the past 5 years, and a check for 60 dollars. Applications can be found here.

Thankfully, more and more people are telling the Michigan State Police "thanks but no thanks" on handgun registration.

While our ultimate goal is to repeal registration in its entirety, this exemption will have to do for now. At the very least, it makes the database unreliable and even a liability. This exemption is very easy to meet and if you choose to take this route, be sure to have an out of state carry license valid at all times. If you are ever without one, you would no longer be exempt as per the Janet Kukuk Act and could face penalties under MCL 28.422; which would be a civil infraction.

Could someone be cited for a civil infraction for utilizing this exemption? Anything is possible, that's why there have been cases of people being arrested for open carry and being booked for unlawful conceal carry.

Please note this would NOT allow you to carry a concealed pistol or a pistol in a vehicle. You must be licensed by your state of residence to do so in Michigan. The above only addresses the separate issue of registration.