UPDATE: On June 19th, 2018, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette published Opinion #7304 confirming the main points of this article. Our article on it is published here: Attorney General Opinion Confirms Major Paradigm Shift for Michigan Pistol Licensing and Registration.
NOTE: 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 pistol licensing and subsequent 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 Public Act 372 of 1927. One section of that act, Section 12 (now MCL 28.432), includes multiple exemptions to Section 2 (now MCL 28.422), which contains the foundation of pistol licensing and registration.
One well known exemption in Section 12 is for antique firearms; which are defined in MCL 28.432(1)(h). Another exemption is for CPL holders possessing any handgun belonging to another person; 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."
What does this mean? It means that MCL 28.432(1)(f) provides for an easy way to be exempt from the entire process of pistol licensing and registration, just as antique firearms are exempt and just as CPL holders possessing a pistol belonging to another 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". That said, 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. 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. The exemption originally exempted one from licensing, registration, obtaining a CPL, the silencer ban, the brass knuckle ban, the 16 round mag limit, the machine gun ban and the ban on carrying a double sided knife concealed or in a vehicle.
Back in 1927, meeting this exemption was rare 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 states' license 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.
Maine 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 should be seen as a viable alternative to those whishing to pursue it.
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. However, we believe the law is clear here and therefore must base our interpretation on what it says, not what it doesn't say.
AGAIN NOTE: 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 pistol licensing and subsequent registration.
The information contained in this page is not legal advice. If you'd like individualized legal advice, we'd be happy to refer you to some legal practices with known firearm specializations. 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.