In the movies, everyone carries their guns whenever and wherever they like, and there are never any consequences. In fact, the idea of being armed can seem so normal to some people, that they sometimes don’t stop to think about how the laws may apply to them. (And what the consequences are if they don’t follow those laws!) But since this is Michigan, and not a movie, it’s very important that you understand what our law says about where you can carry your gun, and where you can’t.
For example, can you carry your gun in your car in Michigan? What about storing your gun in your glovebox, or center console? Is that okay? The answer actually depends on on very important factor – do you have a concealed carry permit (CPL)? If you do have a legally obtained CPL in MIchigan, then yes, you may store your gun in your car. If you don’t, you could get into some very serious trouble.
Picture this. You and a few friends get together for target practice. You fire your weapons safely, exercising caution and following the law. But halfway through, you get a call from your spouse. One of the kids is running a fever and you need to get home quickly. A trip to the ER may be in the books. So you say a hurried goodbye to your friends and toss your gun into the glovebox. On the way home, a cop pulls you over for speeding.
You were in such a hurry to get home, that you didn’t notice the speed limit drop as you went through that residential neighborhood back there, and now you’re looking at a ticket for 10 over. Problem is, when the officer asks for your license and registration, you suddenly remember that there’s a gun in your glovebox. You have no choice. You open the glove box. But the officer sees your weapon and immediately he’s alarmed and asking to see your CPL. Except, you don’t have one…. And now a speeding ticket is the last of your worries.
In Michigan, all firearms carried inside a car are considered to be “concealed.” This means that if you have your gun under your seat, in your glove box, stashed in the center console, or even in your coat pocket while you’re driving, it will be considered “concealed” by a cop. Carrying a concealed weapon without a CPL is a five year felony in Michigan. You do the math.
Michigan law does include a few broad exceptions to that law that do allow people to lawfully carry weapons in their cars under certain circumstances. Please remember though, that these exceptions only apply to people who are legally allowed to own weapons in Michigan. So if your criminal history or mental health have made legal gun ownership impossible in Michigan, then these exceptions DO NOT apply to you. (If you’ve lost your right to carry a gun but want to explore having that right restored to you, read more at www.RestoreMyGunRights.info)
Michigan law does allow for the transportation of guns for “lawful purposes.”
Until 2012, a lawful purpose was defined as going to or from hunting areas, public shooting facilities, gun repair shops, and private property where a gun can be used. When the law was amended, these definitions of lawful purpose were removed. What the law does still clearly define, however, is how a gun must be transported if the owner doesn’t have a CPL. Specifically, your weapon must be:
- Contained in a case designed for transporting weapons
- In the trunk of your vehicle (if the vehicle doesn’t have a trunk, then the gun must be put in a place where it isn’t readily accessible to the vehicle’s occupants.)
It’s also important to remember that these rules don’t only apply to cars. The definition of “motor vehicle” in Michigan is very broad, and includes motorcycles, golf carts, ATVs, riding lawnmowers, commercial vehicles and even motorized scooters. Possessing a firearm on federal property is a whole different issue. If you’re going to visit a national park, or a national historic monument, speak with a qualified attorney first if you plan to carry a firearm. Best practice is to leave your gun at home.
Please remember that while the Constitution affords us the right to keep and bear arms, owning a gun in Michigan is not a right afforded to everyone. For those who can legally own firearms, there are still laws governing the use, transportation and handling of guns. Failure to follow the law can result in lengthy prison sentences.
If you have any questions or concerns, please call The Kronzek Firm today at 866 766 5245, and speak with one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys. We have spent decades protecting the rights of Michigan’s citizens, and defending people against trumped up weapons charges. We serve as referral attorneys for the National Rifle Association. If you or a loved one are facing state or federal gun charges, or are at risk of losing your firearms license, speak to one of our firearms defense attorneys today. We are here to help.