Michigan Expands Firearm Restrictions

In response to recent mass shootings in Michigan, the state enacted new gun laws that went into effect on Feb. 13, 2024. The new laws increase the burden on gun owners to safely store their firearms, require background checks for a broader class of firearm sales, limit gun ownership for domestic violence convicts, and implement the state’s first red-flag law.

Safe Storage Requirements

If a gun owner reasonably knows that their firearms could become accessible to a minor, Michigan law now requires that the owner stores their weapons unloaded and locked, either in a gun safe or with a trigger-locking device.

Failing to store a firearm in a safe manner could result in a misdemeanor charge punishable with up to 93 days in jail. If a minor uses an unsecured gun to kill themselves or others, the gun owner could face a felony charge and up to 15 years in prison.

Exemptions exist that allow a minor to possess a firearm in the presence of an adult for practical education purposes, target practice, employment, or farming and ranching. Even so, a person may not legally purchase a gun in Michigan if they are younger than 21.

Universal Background Checks

Michigan also expanded licensing and background check requirements for firearm sales within the state. The expansion of gun laws now applies to transactions involving long guns that occur outside of a federally licensed dealer.

The expansion of Michigan’s criminal background check requirements for firearm sales effectively closes a loophole that previously allowed private and non-federal sellers to avoid them. Now, all transactions—including gifts and inheritances involving firearms—are subject to licensing and background check requirements.

Domestic Violence & Firearms

Previously, only those convicted of a domestic violence felony would lose their right to possess a firearm for three years. Under Michigan’s new law, however, anyone convicted of a domestic violence-related crime (misdemeanor or felony) loses their right to possess, purchase, or distribute a firearm for eight years after completing their sentence.

New ‘Red Flag’ Laws Now in Effect

Michigan has also implemented new “red flag” laws that confiscate firearms from people who pose a threat to themselves or others. However, a judge must issue an extreme risk protection order (ERPO) before law enforcement can carry out the warrant.

Additionally, only certain people can file a request for an ERPO. These people typically have a domestic relationship with the gun owner (for example: a family member, dating partner, or person with whom the gun owner has a child in common), but mental health professionals and police officers can also file a petition for an ERPO.

Do You Need Legal Assistance?

Michigan’s new gun laws can affect you in many ways. You may be unfairly accused of a crime involving the storage or sale of your firearm, or you may risk losing your right to bear arms because of an unfounded domestic violence accusation. If you need legal assistance to help you address a problem like these, you need experienced legal advocates on your side.

Willis Law can provide the representation you need. Our firm is comprised of seasoned litigation attorneys who can address a variety of legal matters, including gun crime accusations. With our help, you can have a better chance of securing an agreeable outcome to your legal situation.

Contact us today to learn more and schedule a free initial consultation.