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Transporting a Gun in a Motor Vehicle in Michigan

The Michigan Penal code, at § 750.227(2), makes it a felony for a person to transport a pistol anywhere in a vehicle unless the person is licensed to carry a concealed pistol. This means it does not matter if the pistol is unloaded and locked in the truck, or broken down, or even disabled with a trigger lock.

However, if a person has their CPL then transporting a gun in a motor vehicle in Michigan would be legal. If you want to know more about legally transporting firearms, speak with an experienced gun lawyer who could protect your rights.

What Exceptions Allow For The Lawful Transportation of a Pistol?

Exceptions that allow lawful transportation of a pistol includes transporting a gun in a motor vehicle in Michigan for a lawful purpose. Unfortunately, due to a 2012 amendment to this section, the phrase lawful purpose is no longer defined.

Previously, this section specifically indicated that a lawful purpose included going to or from any one of the following:

  • A hunting or target area
  • A place of repair
  • Moving goods from a home or business to another home or business
  • A law enforcement agency (for a safety inspection or to turn the pistol over to the agency)
  • A gun show or place of sale or purchase
  • A public shooting facility
  • Public land where shooting is legal
  • Private property where a pistol may be lawfully used

Is it Legal to Transport a Handgun Without a CPL?

When transporting a gun in a motor vehicle in Michigan there are certain requirements that must be met. It is not clear why the Michigan State Legislature decided to retain the phrase lawful purpose yet remove the definition of the term. However, Michigan’s Penal Code § 750.231a also provides that a pistol transported for a lawful purpose by a person not licensed to carry a concealed pistol must be unloaded, in a closed case designed for firearms, and in the trunk (or if the vehicle has no trunk, it must not be readily accessible to the occupants).

There is no way to lawfully open carry a pistol in a vehicle. An individual, without a CPL or otherwise exempted (e.g., a police officer), who transports a pistol in a vehicle to an area where he or she intends to open carry may be in violation of Michigan’s Penal Code, § 750.227.

Laws on Giving or Loaning Handguns

Handguns cannot be borrowed or loaned to another person other than as provided for under the laws governing CPLs.

Because the person to whom the handgun is loaned would possess it without a license, that person would be in violation of this law. One exception to this rule is that CPL holders are not required to obtain a license under § 28.422 in order to lawfully purchase, carry, possess, use, or transport a pistol.

Additionally, this law does not prevent the transfer of ownership of pistols to an heir or devisee, whether by testamentary bequest or by the laws of intestacy, regardless of whether the pistol is registered with the state.

However, an individual who has inherited a pistol shall obtain a license as required by this section within 30 days of taking physical possession of the pistol. If an individual wants to know more about pistol licenses and transporting a gun in a motor vehicle in Michigan, they should consult a gun lawyer that can answer their questions.