Michigan law provides that anytime a firearm is inside a motor vehicle it is considered a concealed weapon. See Michigan Complied Laws Sec. 750.227. This crime is often abbreviated as “CCW,” and is applicable even when the pistol is in plain sight, and therefore not literally concealed.
The only exception to this rule is when you have a valid concealed pistol license (CPL) in your possession. Only a person with a valid CPL may carry and/or possess a pistol inside the passenger compartment of a motor vehicle. Michigan very broadly honors concealed permits from other states, so if you are from out-of-town, and have a valid concealed carry permit from your home state, then the exception will probably apply to you as well. To be sure check on one of the many sites that list reciprocal states, or contact one of the Michigan Gun Crimes Lawyers at the Barone Defense Firm. Keep in mind that this protection does not apply to long guns. It is never permissible in Michigan to have a rifle inside the passenger compartment of your motor vehicle.
If you are carrying a pistol inside your car, and are stopped by the police, Michigan law requires you to disclose to the officer that you are carrying a pistol. You must also provide a copy of your concealed permit and your state ID to the police officer. If you don’t have your concealed permit or ID in your possession at the time you are stopped by the police, or don’t provide both to the officer, and it’s your first offense, then you may be issued a civil infraction ticket punishable by a $100.00 fine. See Michigan Compiled Laws Sec. 28.425(f).
In addition to providing both forms of ID, you must also inform the officer that you’re carrying. If you fail to do this, then you’re putting your Michigan CPL in jeopardy because a failure to disclose that you are carrying is also a violation of Michigan law that will result in your being issued a civil infraction ticket punishable by a $500 fine and a suspension of your CPL for five years. See Michigan Compiled Laws Sec. 28.425(f). If you do this twice, then the second conviction will result in a lifetime revocation of your CPL. For information on how to lawfully carry a firearm in your car without a CPL see the article “When May I Lawfully Transport a Pistol in My Car?”
There is no Covid-19 exception to these rules and laws. Ignorance of the law is also no excuse. So, you won’t be able to claim as a defense that you put your gun in your car to protect yourself because you were planning on driving near protests or riots. If you have a pistol on you with no CPL and find yourself surrounded by protesters who are pounding on your car, don’t think you’ll be avoiding prosecution when you pull out your firearm and shoot someone. You won’t avoid prosecution in this hypothetical situation and chances are good that you’ll be prosecuted not just for the harm caused by your bullet, but you’ll possibly also be facing other additional felony counts such as CCW and Felony Firearm. See Michigan Compiled Laws Sec. 750.227b.
If you are a Michigan gun owner, and you wish to use your weapon for self-defense, then it is critically important for you to learn the law! It is equally important that you take the time to learn your weapon. Take firearms safety and target classes at your local gun range and spend time target shooting. Then, if your best efforts fail, and you find yourself on the wrong end of an arrest warrant, contact the Michigan Gun Crimes Lawyers at the Barone Defense Firm for your free no obligation case review.