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Federal law establishes a baseline national standard regarding individuals’ eligibility to acquire and possess firearms. Under federal law, people are generally prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms if they have been convicted of a felony or some domestic violence misdemeanors, or if they are subject to certain court orders related to domestic violence or a serious mental condition. However, federal law merely provides a floor, and has notable gaps that allow individuals who have demonstrated significant risk factors for violence or self-harm to legally acquire and possess guns.

Michigan prohibits any person convicted of a felony or “specified felony” as defined under state law from possessing, using, transporting, selling, purchasing, carrying, shipping, receiving or distributing a firearm or ammunition, if that person has not yet satisfied statutory requirements to restore his or her ability to own or possess a firearm, including serving any applicable sentence or conditions for parole, and paying any relevant fines.1

Michigan also prohibits a firearm seller from knowingly selling a firearm or ammunition to:

  • A person who lacks a firearms purchase license;2
  • A person under indictment for a felony that is punishable by imprisonment for 4 years or more;3 and
  • A person who is prohibited from possessing, using, transporting, selling, purchasing, carrying, shipping, receiving, or distributing a firearm due to a felony conviction.4

Michigan also prohibits issuance of a firearms purchase license to any person local law enforcement has probable cause to believe would be a threat to themselves or others, or would commit a crime with the handgun.5 A person may qualify for a license if he or she:6

  • Is not subject to any of several specified protective orders or court dispositions;7
  • Is a U.S. citizen or lawfully admitted alien and a legal resident of Michigan;
  • Does not have a felony or other specified criminal charge pending against him or her;
  • Is not prohibited from possessing, using, transporting, selling, purchasing, carrying, shipping, receiving, or distributing a firearm under state law; and
  • Has not been adjudged “insane” or “legally incapacitated,” or is not under an order of involuntary commitment in an inpatient or outpatient setting due to mental illness.

As of early 2024, people subject to an extreme risk protection order may not purchase or possess firearms.8 See Extreme Risk Protection Orders in Michigan for more information.


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  1. Mich. Comp. Laws Serv. § 750.224f.[]
  2. Mich. Comp. Laws Serv. § 750.223(1).[]
  3. Mich. Comp. Laws Serv. § 750.223(3)(a).[]
  4. Mich. Comp. Laws Serv. § 750.223(3)(b).[]
  5. Mich. Comp. Laws Serv. § 28.422(3).[]
  6. Mich. Comp. Laws Serv. § 28.422(3). License applicants are also required to pass the “basic pistol safety review questionnaire” exam by correctly answering 70% or more of the questions presented. See the Michigan Licensing of Gun Owners / Purchasers section for further information.[]
  7. See Mich. Comp. Laws Serv. § 28.422(3)(a).[]
  8. 2023 Michigan SB 83, effective early 2024.[]