Articles Posted in Gun Laws

Can Off Duty Officer Concealed Carry in Court?

The answer will depend on the written security policy of the individual court.  Police officers and other law enforcement officers are advised to check with the specific court prior to attempting to conceal carry.

Michigan law provides that any person with a CPL may carry anywhere in the State of Michigan unless otherwise precluded.  Most of the areas that are prohibited carry zones are set forth in Michigan Compiled Laws sec. 28.425o. Subsection 5 of this law sets forth the people who are exempt from these restrictions and who may therefore otherwise carry in weapons free zones. Provided certain licensing requirements are met, exempted persons include the following:

A retired police officer, retired law enforcement officer, or retired federal law enforcement officer, a private investigator or private detective, a corrections officer, a motor carrier officer or capitol security officer, a member of a sheriff’s posse, a parole, probation, or corrections officer, a state court judge, a court officer, a peace officer.

Michigan Recreational Marijuana Users Advised to Avoid Firearm Possession

Now that Michigan has legalized the recreational use of marijuana, many citizens want to know how they can possess and use recreational marijuana without running afoul of the law.  It will take many years for the legislators and courts to sort this all out, and in the meanwhile, recreational users may unknowingly place themselves at risk for criminal prosecution or other adverse legal consequences.  One area that is particularly rife with such risks is the combination of marijuana and firearms.

An example of this this risk relates to the possession or use of marijuana while also being in the possession of a firearm. While this article focuses on State law there is also an interplay between Federal law and marijuana, and this interplay is the subject of a different article on this site.

As it relates to State law, Michigan gun owners should know that it is unlawful in Michigan to possess a firearm under the influence of alcohol, drugs or a combination of alcohol and drugs. There are two separate laws that apply to this scenario, one of which appears in the criminal code and one of which appears in the firearms statute. Both contain provisions applicable to the possession of a firearm under the influence of marijuana, but there are important differences as well.

Can I Have a CPL and be a Medical or Recreational Marijuana User?

No, according to Federal law, you are not allowed to both use medical or recreational marijuana and have a Michigan Concealed Pistol License (CPL).  This is due to a conflict in state and federal law.

Michigan is not the only state facing this dilemma. For example, a man in Pennsylvania has filed a lawsuit seeking clarity regarding gun ownership rights.  According to the HuffPost,

A medical marijuana prescriber and patient is challenging President Donald Trump’s administration over a federal statute barring cannabis users from purchasing or owning firearms, even when they take the drug legally pursuant to state law.

Possession or Use of Firearm Under the Influence in Michigan

All firearms are inherently dangerous, so naturally, it is against the law in Michigan to possess or use one under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Because of the danger posed by individuals who violate this law, penalties are quite significant and are set forth in the statute found at Michigan Compiled Laws sec. 750.237.

This statute defines “under the influence” the following three ways;

  1. You are “under the influence” of alcohol, drugs or a combination of alcohol or drugs, and/or
  2. You have a bodily alcohol level (BAC) of .08 or more, or are;
  3. You are impaired by alcohol, drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol.

This crime is categorized as a misdemeanor punishable by possible imprisonment for up to 93 days.  Additionally, if you are found guilty of this crime, you may also be required to pay a fine of not more than $100.00 for carrying or possessing a firearm, or both, and not more than $500.00 for using or discharging a firearm, or both.

Can I Open Carry on School Grounds with a CPL?

Yes, unless the school specifically has a policy against open carry, a person with a valid CPL may open carry on school grounds. However, the multitude of laws addressing this topic is so nuanced that a person wishing to open carry on school grounds should consider contacting the school and the local police agency prior to open carrying on school grounds.

The issue of open carry on school grounds has been extensively litigated finally resolved by at the end of July 2018 Michigan Supreme Court opinion by the name of Michigan Gun Owners, Inc v. Ann Arbor Public Schools. In this case, the plaintiffs, Michigan Gun Owners and Michigan Open Carry, Inc., set forth Michigan law supporting open carry on school grounds as follows:

  • MCL § 750.237a(4) generally prohibits possession of a firearm within a “weapon free school zone”.
  • MCL § 750.237a(5)(c) exempts “an individual who is licensed by this state or another state to carry a concealed weapon”.
  • MCL § 28.425o(1)(a) generally prohibits the carrying of a “concealed weapon” at a school or school property. However, this statute specifically provides an exception for a concealed pistol licensee while in a vehicle on school property, if he or she is dropping the student off at the school or picking up the student from the school.
  • 18 USC §922(q)(2)(A) restricts knowingly possessing a firearm in a school zone. An exception exists for an individual licensed to do so by the State in which the school zone is located. 18 USC §922(q)(2)(B)(ii).

It was the Michigan Gun Owner and Michigan Open Carry, Inc.’s position in this case that because of the interplay between the above sections of Michigan law, open carry is allowed, for CPL holders only, and that Michigan Public Schools were precluded from modifying this law in any way by the law of preemption.  This second argument was based on MCL § 123.1102, which preempts local units of government from adopting firearm ordinances or regulations.

Michigan CPL Applications Likely to Reach One Million in 2018

The number of Michigan citizens with a Concealed Pistol License (CPL) continues to increase each year with 2018 on track to become a recording breaking year. As of April 2018, there are a total of 993,026 CPL holders in Michigan according to police CPL records.  The current pace of new applicants suggests that the number will exceed one million CPL holders later this year.

The number of Michigan CPL holders continues to increase year-over-year, and one reason is that Michigan became a CPL “shall-issue” state in 2001. Then, in 2015, Michigan County Clerk offices and the Michigan State Police became responsible for processing concealed weapon applications under Senate Bills 34 and 35 or Public Acts 3 and 4. This important change in Michigan’s CPL law did away with gun boards that included county sheriffs and prosecutors.  With this change Michigan became a true shall issue state because now all applicants are approved provided they meet the statutory guidelines. One final change in 2015 included a reduction in processing time. Under Michigan’s CPL law, applications are to be processed within 45 days and if the paperwork isn’t processed within the 45-day-period applicants can use their application receipts received by the clerk’s office as proof of certification.  However, applicants usually receive their CPLs in a much shorter time, often within a couple weeks.

Because Michigan is a shall issue state, provided an individual takes a one-day class, pays the application and fingerprint fee, and can pass a background check, they shall be given a CPL.  Once a valid CPL is obtained, it remains valid for five years, and the CPL holder can lawfully carry a concealed pistol anywhere not otherwise precluded by law.  These so-called gun free zones include such things as sports arenas, schools, courts, post offices, banks, places of worship, day care centers, etc.  The State is required to create an on-line CPL renewal process by October 2018.

The Law of Private Long Gun Sales in Michigan

Before looking at the difference between long gun sales and pistol sales it is helpful to understand that Michigan law sets forth many important distinctions between pistols and long guns.  While both are considered firearms because both can expel a projectile by the action of an explosive, the laws governing the sale, possession, and use of these firearms is significantly different.

A pistol is defined as any firearm with an overall length of 26 inches or less, or that by its construction and appearance conceals itself as a firearm.  Thus, it is the concealability that helps distinguish a pistol from a rifle.  These definitions are set forth in Michigan Compiled Laws § 750.222.

Furthermore, Michigan Compiled Laws § 3.111 indicates that Michigan residents may purchase rifles and shotguns in any state if they conform to the federal gun control act of 1968, Public Law 90-618, and the regulations issued under that act, as administered by the secretary of the treasury, and with the laws of the state in which the purchase is made. Michigan Compiled Laws § 3.112 addresses the reverse, which is that Michigan residents my sell to residents of other states, again, providing they conform to the federal gun control act, and with the laws of the state in which the purchaser resides.

Can my Spouse Keep Their Guns If I’m on Felony Probation?

Probably not.  If you’ve been convicted of a felony in Michigan, then your gun rights will be suspended for three to five years, depending on the type of felony.  The suspension time periods start when you’re done with your felony probation and it is also likely that the sentencing Judge addressed this issue at the time you were sentenced and made the non-possession of firearms an explicit condition of probation.  For a more detailed explanation, let’s look at what the law provides.

The law that covers this issue is found at Michigan Compiled Laws § 750.224f, which provides as follows:

A person convicted of a felony shall not possess, use, transport, sell, purchase, carry, ship, receive, or distribute a firearm in this state until the expiration of 3 years after all the following circumstances exist: (a) The person has paid all fines imposed for the violation. (b) The person has served all terms of imprisonment imposed for the violation. (c) The person has successfully completed all conditions of probation or parole imposed for the violation.

When May I Lawfully Transport a Pistol in My Car?
If you own any kind of firearm in Michigan, chances are good that at some point you will want to transport that weapon using a motor vehicle. Doing this responsibly requires some knowledge of the law, and if you are uncertain how the law applies to your situation, then you may consider contacting one of the Michigan Gun Crimes Lawyers at the Barone Defense Firm.

As a general principle, any time you have a firearm in a motor vehicle, that weapon is considered concealed. This is true whether the firearm is open and obvious inside the vehicle or not. Carrying a concealed weapon is a five-year felony in Michigan. There is no such thing as “open carry” inside a car. A violation of this law is a five-year felony. See Michigan Compiled Laws Sec. 750.227. Persons with a valid Concealed Pistol License (CPL) are exempt from this law.

If you have a CPL, then you may carry a loaded pistol inside the passenger compartment of a motor vehicle anytime you like. However, if you do not have a CPL a whole different set of rules applies, and it is important for you as a gun owner to understand these rules. Otherwise, you might inadvertently find yourself charged with serious felony.

Where May I Carry My Concealed Weapon in Michigan?
If you have a concealed pistol license in Michigan, then you are free to carry your concealed weapon throughout the state.  This means you can carry a gun with you while driving on streets or freeways, including rest areas, while shopping, eating at certain restaurants while walking in fairs and fairgrounds, neighborhood BBQs, many small (non-sports) entertainment facilities and many other places.

However, there are certain areas that are strictly excluded from your right to carry.  These CPL exclusions are set forth in MCL sec. 28.425o.

CPL Exclusions:

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