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The gun laws in Michigan are more complicated than some might expect. The Wolverine State has laws covering different types of guns, but there are a number of exceptions, and some of those laws contradict one another regarding open carry. The laws continue to evolve in the Michigan Legislature.

There are some stated gun-free zones in Michigan, such as schools and churches, but even these guidelines come with exceptions. For example, the law allows anyone with a concealed weapon to carry a gun within these zones as long as the gun owner has a concealed pistol license (CPL). This person has to carry the gun on their hip, but it needs to be in plain sight if they’re in a zone like a school.

But the situation gets even more complicated because of another Michigan law, which allows school districts to establish their own rules when it comes to guns. School districts in Michigan are allowed to ban guns on their premises and ask anyone who shows up with a gun to leave. The state also allows parents picking up their children to have guns in their vehicles, meaning guns kept in the parking lot are not considered to be in the gun-free zone. If it all sounds confusing, it’s important to understand your rights, including where and when you can carry a gun in the state.

Who Can Own and Carry a Gun in Michigan?

Anyone 18 or older can own a pistol as long as they purchased a license for it. But it’s important to note that the gun can only be obtained from a private seller, not a federally licensed dealer. An individual needs to be age 21 to buy a gun from a federally licensed dealer. However, people don’t need a license if the gun is longer than 26 inches, according to Michigan law.

Is Open Carry Legal in Michigan?

Michigan is an open-carry state, so it’s not uncommon to see people carrying guns out in the open across the state as long as the person has a license for the gun and has a “lawful intent.” The gun can’t be concealed from the public if it’s being carried. 

There is no specific law telling people to carry their guns out in the open. However, there’s no law preventing people from doing so. The only thing that open carry users have to be concerned about are gun-free zones that include places like a sports arena, schools, or places of worship.

People can also carry guns in their cars, as long as their purpose is lawful. This is allowed since there’s no law against it. Those who are thinking about transporting guns from one place to another will need a CPL, or the gun owner will be committing a felony.

What Does Lawful Intent Mean When It Comes to Carrying Guns?

What does Michigan law mean when it states that gun owners must have a "lawful intent” for their weapons? The state lists numerous examples of the uses of those guns that are considered lawful. They include:

  • Going hunting 
  • Taking the gun to someplace that does repairs 
  • Moving into a new home 
  • Taking the gun to be inspected 
  • Taking the gun to a gun show  
  • Attempting to sell the gun  
  • Taking it to a shooting range

These are some examples of what is considered a “lawful intent” for a gun.

Still, the laws regarding guns in Michigan can be confusing at times. But if you’re concerned about whether you can openly carry a gun in the state without drawing concerns from law enforcement, it helps to understand exactly what the law states -- even if the laws can sometimes seem contradictory.

Get Sound Advice from an Experienced Attorney

If you’re not sure what your legal rights are when it comes to gun ownership, contact the experienced attorneys at Christopher Trainer and Associates, who are available to advise you on the intricate nature of the laws in Michigan. The attorneys at the Michigan Legal Center have helped residents for the last two decades. 

Call 1800-961-8477 for a free consultation with an experienced lawyer. Christopher Trainor & Associates are happy to answer any questions you have and advise you on the next steps you need to take.  

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