You are here

Ancient Time Bomb in Michigan Firearm Law Defused

Time Bomb

The repeal of the oldest active Michigan gun law was made effective today with Senate Bill 219, now Public Act 95 of 2017, going into effect. The bill makes numerous minor tweaks to the concealed pistol licensing statute; however, it also makes one major change to a law that was so dangerous, we've purposely kept quiet about it ... until now.

At the very end of SB 219, a 58 page bill, is Enacting Section 1.

Enacting section 1. Section 232 of the Michigan penal code, 23 1931 PA 328, MCL 750.232, is repealed.

We felt that MCL 750.232, was so dangerous that we didn’t want to bring anyone’s attention to it prior to it being repealed. Here is what it used to say.

Any person engaged in any way or to any extent in the business of selling at retail, guns, pistols, other fire-arms or silencers for fire-arms who shall fail or neglect to keep a register in which shall be entered the name, age, occupation and residence (if residing in the city with the street number of such residence) of each and every purchaser of such guns, pistols, other fire-arms or silencers for fire-arms together with the number or other mark of identification, if any, on such gun, pistol, other fire-arms or silencer for fire-arms, which said register shall be open to the inspection of all peace officers at all times, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

This law was originally passed on May 7, 1913 as  Public Act 250 of 1913. This was the original registration law that applied to all firearms and silencers for any retail transaction and has been on the books for the past 104 years. While this law has not been enforced for decades, it was a valid law that any law enforcement officer in the state could have enforced at any time.

While some have said that this act was replaced by the ATF form 4473, that was actually a myth. This law was independent of any federal requirement and went further than the federal forms by demanding your occupation and by having the records open to inspection by all peace officers, without a warrant, and without cause at all times. Name one dealer in the state that recorded the occupation of all of their buyers, and stored that information in a manner that was accessible to all peace officers at all times.

Yes, you read this right, every dealer in the state was guilty of a misdemeanor and could have been shut down. While the State Police admitted that they were unaware of the law, and even had no record of enforcing it, that was no legal defense to a prosecution tomorrow or at anytime in the future. Laws often go from being forgotten about one day to being thrown in the face of someone the next.

Thankfully, with the help of Senator Mike Green, we were able to get this law repealed and buried in the graveyard of former oppressive Michigan gun laws. We believed this ancient and oppressive law to have been a ticking time bomb because the Michigan State Police and many gun owners are waking up to the fact that there are registration exemptions in the law to which numerous gun owners can use to opt-out of registration.  We were concerned that some in this state would have retaliated by enforcing this archaic law, which had no exemptions.

Thankfully this law is now repealed and the threat of misdemeanor jail time is no longer over the heads of every federally licensed gun dealer in this state.

Thanks again to Senator Mike Green and his staff for quickly addressing our concern and for incorporating a repeal of MCL 750.232 into Senate Bill 219; which is now law, effetive today, as PA 95 of 2017.


Recent comments