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Federal law generally requires federally licensed firearms dealers (but not private sellers) to initiate a background check on the purchaser prior to sale of a firearm. Federal law provides states with the option of serving as a state “point of contact” and conducting their own background checks using state, as well as federal, records and databases, or having the checks performed by the FBI using only the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database. (Note that state files are not always included in the federal database.)

In early 2024, Michigan will require anyone purchasing a firearm to have a firearms purchase license or a concealed handgun license or, for long guns, have had a background check conducted by a licensed dealer within 5 days prior to the purchase.1 Background checks for licenses are conducted by the Department of State Police who review in-state databases and also contact NICS. Long gun purchases through dealers are subject to a NICS check only. See Licensing in Michigan for more information.

While firearm purchase licenses are valid for 30 days,2 concealed handgun licensees only have to submit to a background check once every five years, at the time of renewal of their concealed carry license.3 Michigan enacted a law in 2015 to require concealed handgun licensing authorities to conduct background checks through the state’s law enforcement information network and the FBI’s NICS database.4

Federal law does not require dealers to conduct a background check if a firearm purchaser presents a state permit to purchase or possess firearms that meets certain conditions. As a result, Michigan handgun purchase license holders are exempt from the federal background check requirement when purchasing a firearm.5 (Note, however, that people who have become prohibited from possessing firearms may continue to hold state firearms licenses if the state fails to remove these licenses in a timely fashion.)

See the Michigan Firearm Prohibitions section for state-defined firearm-prohibiting convictions and court orders.


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  1. Mich. Comp. Laws Serv. § 28.422, 28.422a.[]
  2. Mich. Comp. Laws Serv. § 28.422(4).[]
  3. Mich. Comp. Laws Serv. §§ 28.425b(6), 28.425 l (1)(stating that “a license to carry a concealed handgun is valid until the applicant’s date of birth that falls not less than 4 years or more than 5 years after the license is issued or renewed.”) []
  4. See 2015 Mich. S.B. 34 (amending Mich. Comp. Laws Serv. § 28.425b(6).) []
  5. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, U.S. Department of Justice, Brady Law: Permanent Brady Permit Chart, March 3, 2020, at:[]