Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently signed several gun reform bills into law that will change several of the state’s current firearms laws, affecting the rights of gun owners when the new laws take effect in early 2024. These new laws impose mandatory background checks on all firearm purchases, require safe storage of firearms around minors, and allow for an extreme risk protection order, otherwise known as a red flag law. If you are a gun owner, it is important to familiarize yourself with these new laws. Penalties for noncompliance with these new laws include fines, jail time, and even the loss of the right to own and possess a firearm. Here is what you need to know about Michigan’s new gun laws:
Universal Background Checks
Once the new laws go into effect, any person who does not have a gun license must undergo a mandatory federal national instant criminal background check before being able to purchase any type of firearm within Michigan. Before this law takes effect, state law only required background checks in order to obtain a pistol license; background checks were not required for the sale of long guns or shotguns.
Safe Storage Requirements
In addition to requiring universal background checks on all new firearm purchases, Michigan is also requiring that all firearms be safely stored when minors under 18 are present in the household or building where the firearms are located. The new law requires gun owners, if a minor under 18 is present in the household, to either store their weapons in safes or locked containers, or use a trigger or cable lock on the unloaded firearm. If a minor obtains an unsecured firearm and causes any injury or death, the owner of the firearm may face possible fines and jail time, and may even lose their right to own or possess a gun.
In an effort to promote compliance with the new safe storage law, devices used to store and lock guns, such as gun safes and trigger locks, are now exempted from state sales taxes.
Red Flag Law
What is an Extreme Risk Protection Order?
Arguably the most controversial piece of gun legislation that was recently passed is the red flag law, otherwise known as an extreme risk protection order. Extreme risk protection orders seek to prevent gun violence by allowing for the temporary confiscation of a person’s guns after a court issues a valid order.
Who Can Petition a Court for an Extreme Risk Protection Order?
To obtain an extreme risk protection order, a person with some form of relationship to the gun owner must petition the court. Parents, siblings, friends, roommates, dating partners, current and ex-spouses, mental health professionals, and law enforcement officials can petition a court if they believe the gun owner poses an imminent threat to themselves or society.
What Happens When an Extreme Risk Protection Order is Filed Against Me?
Once a petition for an extreme risk protection order is filed, the court will have 24 hours to decide whether or not to issue the order. Before granting the order, the judge will consider a variety of factors, including:
- Has the individual made violent threats, or have a criminal history involving violence?
- Has the individual had a prior extreme risk protection order filed against them?
- Who is filing the petition?
- Does the individual suffer from mental illness or a serious emotional disturbance?
- Does the individual abuse drugs or alcohol?
- Has the individual used firearms unlawfully in the past?
If an order is granted, the gun owner will be notified and will have 24 hours to voluntarily hand over their firearms before they are confiscated by police. Additionally, a hearing must be conducted within 14 days to allow the gun owner to prove that they are not at risk to themselves or to the public.
Charged with a Gun-Related Crime?
As Michigan’s firearm laws continue to change, it can be easy to violate them. Firearm law violations can have serious consequences, including fines, jail time, and even loss of the right to own and possess firearms. If you have been charged with a gun-related crime, or have already lost your gun rights, our skilled firearm attorneys can help you with gun rights restoration. At The Kronzek Firm, we are dedicated to protecting your rights, and have helped thousands of clients over the decades. Reach out to us today at 866-766-5245 to start getting the help you need!