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.
If you do not have a CPL and are transporting a pistol for a “lawful purpose” then you must assure that your weapon is:
- Unloaded (ammunition separated from weapon)
- In a closed case designed for firearms
- In the trunk (or if the vehicle has no trunk, it must not be readily accessible to the occupants)
Thus, to properly transport a pistol in your car without a CPL in Michigan you should be sure you have separated the magazine from the pistol. Also make sure the chamber is fully unloaded, then place the pistol in a case, and lock the pistol in your trunk.
These rules only apply to transportation within Michigan. Once you cross state lines, different rules may apply depending on the rules of that state.
Another important fact is that long guns may never be lawfully transported within the passenger compartment of a motor vehicle. Owners of long guns wishing to transport them must obey all the rules set forth above. This is true for CPL owners as well, because CPLs apply only to pistols.
Finally, you should know that these rules apply cars and all other motor vehicles. According to the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code, § 257.33, the term “motor vehicle” means every vehicle that is self-propelled. This definition is very broad and includes (but is not limited to) vehicles that are not cars or trucks such as:
- Golf carts;
- Motorized scooters;
- Riding lawnmowers.
Thus, if you have a pistol with you and you are on any kind of a motor vehicle, and you fail to take proper precautions then you could be charged with the felony of carrying a concealed weapon. For more on how to legally transport your weapon and avoid any potential penalties seek the assistance of a Michigan gun lawyer today.