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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 handgun seller from knowingly selling a firearm or ammunition to such a person, or to a person under indictment for a felony.2

Michigan also prohibits issuance of a handgun 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.3 A person may qualify for a license if he or she:4

  • Is not subject to any of several specified court orders or dispositions;5
  • 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.

For additional information on handgun purchase licenses, see the Michigan Licensing of Gun Purchasers/Owners section.


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  1. Mich. Comp. Laws Serv. § 750.224f.[]
  2. Mich. Comp. Laws Serv. § 750.223(3)(a),(b). See Mich. Comp. Laws Serv. § 750.222 (defining seller to mean the seller of a handgun).[]
  3. Mich. Comp. Laws Serv. § 28.422(3).[]
  4. 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.[]
  5. See Mich. Comp. Laws Serv. § 28.422(3)(a).[]