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 18 years of age or older (see the Michigan Minimum Age section for more information)
- 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.
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- Mich. Comp. Laws Serv. § 750.224f.
- Mich. Comp. Laws Serv. § 750.223(1).
- Mich. Comp. Laws Serv. § 750.223(3)(a).
- Mich. Comp. Laws Serv. § 750.223(3)(b).
- Mich. Comp. Laws Serv. § 28.422(3).
- 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.
- See Mich. Comp. Laws Serv. § 28.422(3)(a).
- 2023 Michigan SB 83, effective early 2024.