Lawful Possession and Discharge of a Firearm

Michigan has an open carry law, which means that an individual can carry a weapon in plain view without a concealed weapons permit as long as they have lawful possession of the firearm.  Specifically, you may open carry a gun without a concealed pistol license (CPL) so long as the weapon is registered to you.  Few people openly carry a weapon, however, many who possess weapons want to possess them in a way that is concealed for their own safety as well as for the safety of others.

Otherwise, an individual can lawfully possess the weapon when they are on their way to shoot the weapon at a target, for example at a shooting range or are going hunting. It is unlawful to discharge a firearm at any time where in doing so, someone places another person or themselves in danger.  There are also laws that specifically preclude some kinds of firearm discharge.

If you would like to know more about your rights as a gun owner or are facing charges for the unlawful possession or discharge of a firearm, contact a Michigan gun lawyer today.

Obtaining a Permit

Legally carrying a concealed gun simply requires that the individual obtains a concealed weapons permit. This generally requires some level of training and classroom education as well as target training. Many classes are available throughout the state on a regular basis and take just one day to complete. At the end of the training, an individual can get their certificate and apply for a permit.

In order to be eligible for a CPL, they must be 21 or older and a resident of Michigan. If they are eligible, the individual must take the following steps:

  • Obtain a certificate of completion of a pistol safety course
  • Submit a CPL application, passport quality photo, and any applicable fees
  • provide fingerprints.

Many people will not be able to obtain a CPL, including those who have ever been convicted of a felony, have a felony charge pending, or have been convicted of many kinds of misdemeanors, then they will not be able to obtain a CPL.  Additionally, many types of mental illness will also make a person ineligible for a concealed weapons permit

Location Exclusions

Once someone comes into possession of a concealed weapons permit, they can lawfully possess and carry a weapon anytime as long as there is no exclusion that applies. For example, an individual may not possess or carry a concealed weapon when they are intoxicated.

An individual also may not carry a concealed weapon into certain public locations or zero tolerance areas such as schools, places of worship, hospitals, or where many people gather together like sports arenas and similar venues.

Lawful Discharge of a Weapon

As a general rule, if a person is able to lawfully carry a gun, then that person may lawfully discharge it, as long as they are not placing someone else in danger or even the possibility of danger. An individual is generally limited to being able to lawfully discharge a weapon at a place like a shooting range. The idea is to be someplace where the environment is such that if an individual misses the target, they are not going to maim or kill someone.

An individual is not allowed to shoot a firearm in their backyard or in large open spaces unless there are sufficient safe guards to make sure that there is no possibility that anyone is harmed. For example, if an individual has a large tract of land to use for hunting; they can lawfully discharge a weapon there. However, they cannot lawfully discharge a weapon at the park behind their house.