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Firearm Possession in Various Locations in Michigan

Generally speaking, a person may keep a firearm in their dwelling house or place of business without any further permits or concealed carry license. Michigan Penal Code, § 750.227, which sets forth the circumstances under which it is unlawful to carry a concealed weapon, specifically excludes a home or place of business.

This law provides that it is unlawful to conceal and carry a dagger, dirk, stiletto, a double-edged non-folding stabbing instrument of any length, pistol, or any other dangerous weapon. However, there are three exceptions: CPL holders can carry their weapons, individuals can conceal and carry items at their dwelling house, and at a place of business. If an individual wants to know more about firearm possession in different locations in Michigan, they should consult a knowledgeable gun lawyer who can answer their questions.

What is a Dwelling House?

Michigan Compiled Laws § 780.951(c) indicates that a dwelling means a structure or shelter that is used permanently or temporarily as a place of abode, including an appurtenant structure attached to that structure or shelter. It is also defined as being habitually used by one or more individuals as a place of abode, whether or not an individual is present in the facility.

Various cases have taken a stab at defining dwelling when trying to solidify the parameters for firearm possession in different locations in Michigan. For example, in People v. Pasha, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that in order to qualify for the dwelling-house exception to the CCW statute, the defendant must present evidence that the location where the concealed pistol was carried was defendant’s dwelling house.

No other condition, such as lawful ownership of the pistol, is statutorily required.  Furthermore, according to People v. Clark, the statutory text of § 750.227 makes clear that the Legislature only intended to exempt those areas in which a defendant had a sufficient possessory interest. Consequently, common areas such as hallways in an apartment are not exempt.

Firearm Possession in Motor Homes

According to the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code, § 257.32a, a motorhome means a motor vehicle constructed or altered to provide living quarters, including permanently installed cooking and sleeping facilities, and is used for recreation, camping, or other non-commercial use.

This definition suggests that a motorhome is a motor vehicle first and a dwelling second.  Nevertheless, a person charged with CCW (carrying a concealed weapon) may be able to successfully argue that the dwelling house exception applies. It is good to always default to the proposition that a firearm carried in a motor vehicle is always considered concealed.

In this case, a verdict of guilty or acquittal would be up to the judge or jury hearing the case.

Pickup Camper

According to the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code, § 257.40a, a pickup camper means one that is not a self-propelled recreational vehicle, without wheels for road use, that is designed to rest all of its weight upon and be attached to a motor vehicle, and is primarily intended for use as temporary living quarters in connection with recreational, camping, or travel purposes.

A pickup camper does not include truck covers or caps consisting of walls and a roof but that do not have floors and facilities for using the camper as a dwelling. It would seem safest to assume that temporary living quarters used in connection with recreational or travel purposes, is not a dwelling house as that term is used in § 750.227. However, an argument could be made that a pickup camper does meet the definition set forth in the Michigan Housing Laws under § 125.402(1).

Recreational Vehicle

The legislation surrounding firearm possession in different locations in Michigan can be somewhat ambiguous, especially in the case of RVs. According to the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code, § 49a, a recreational vehicle means a vehicle that has its own motor power or is towed by a motor vehicle that is primarily designed to provide temporary living quarters for recreational, camping, travel, or seasonal use. As with the other two vehicles listed here, an RV could conceivably meet the definition of a dwelling house, but the safest bet is to not carry a concealed weapon in an RV without a CPL.

Keeping a Firearm in a Hotel Room

Because hotels are not specifically included or referenced as a dwelling when discussing firearm possession in different locations in Michigan, it would be up to the police, prosecutor, judge, and jury to make the decisions of whether to charge and/or convict on a criminal charge involving this question. If an individual wants to know more about