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Michigan is one of the few states that require people who buy handguns to register them. The law is ineffective in solving crimes. There is only one known case in over 90 years of the law’s existence that may have been solved because of pistol registration in Michigan.

The primary purpose of the legislation, enacted in 1927, is believed t have been to keep black people form legally owning pistols. Like many gun control laws, Michigan’s registration requirement is an artifact of racial discrimination that serves no useful purpose.

The law that requires the pistol license and registration is MCL 28.422, Section 2. (1). Section 2. (1) of MCL 28.422 states:

(1) Except as otherwise provided in this act, a person shall not purchase, carry, possess, or transport a pistol in this state without first having obtained a license for the pistol as prescribed in this section.

There are several exemptions from the requirement for a pistol license.

From  MCL 28.432:

28.432 Inapplicability of MCL 28.422; amendatory act as “Janet Kukuk act”.

Sec. 12.

(1) Section 2 does not apply to any of the following:

(a) A police or correctional agency of the United States or of this state or any subdivision of this state.

(b) The United States army, air force, navy, or marine corps.

(c) An organization authorized by law to purchase or receive weapons from the United States or from this state.

(d) The national guard, armed forces reserves, or other duly authorized military organization.

(e) A member of an entity or organization described in subdivisions (a) through (d) for a pistol while engaged in the course of his or her duties with that entity or while going to or returning from those duties.

(f) A United States citizen holding a license to carry a pistol concealed upon his or her person issued by another state.

(g) The regular and ordinary possession and transportation of a pistol as merchandise by an authorized agent of a person licensed to manufacture firearms or a licensed dealer.

Tom Lambert, President of Michigan Open Carry ably demonstrates that under section (f), Michiganders don’t need a pistol license. The Michigan pistol license is separate and different from the Michigan concealed pistol license.

People are seldom prosecuted for not having their pistol registered in Michigan.

If you don’t wish to have your pistol registered in Michigan, and you have a concealed carry permit from another state, you don’t have to turn in the forms for registration in Michigan. According to the above, you are exempted from the law. Carry on….


©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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  1. In CA we are required, under penalty of felony, to register all pistols.

    Some folks think its good to have an unregistered pistol or two off site and ready for real emergencies.

  2. If you have a CPL you still need to register the pistol, you just don’t need to get a license to purchase. That’s my understanding, they may have changed something recently, but I think I would have heard about it.

    • They key is to get a CPL from another state as well as a CPL in MI. AZ is recommended if you’re over 21. If you have a CPL from another state you don’t have to register your pistol(s) in MI, but don’t open carry one that’s not registered to you in MI.

      • “… don’t open carry one that’s not registered to you in MI.”

        Why does it matter whether you carry an unregistered handgun either openly or concealed as long as you have a resident carry license as well as a carry license from another state?

        • Maybe I’m wrong. The Michigan OC guide says that it needs to be registered. They’re saying that MI registration is not mandatory as per the exception cited above in the article, but their guide says that an OC gun needs to be registered. Maybe it’s just a case of the guide not taking that into exemption into consideration. However, it seems risky since you would be attracting attention to yourself and not all LE may agree with the application of the exception cited in the article.

          I was incorrect in stating that the pistol has to be registered to the person carrying it. That is only for people without a CPL.

  3. The “one know case in over 90 years” is probably a reference to the I-96 spree shooter.

    from another site:
    “The detective in charge of the investigation said there is no way an arrest could have been made so quickly without the pistol registry database, said Sgt. Christopher Hawkins, legislative liaison for the Michigan State Police.”

    The I-96 shooter was caught because of his vehicle, his MSU alumni license plate, and a partial plate number from a witness. (

    Registrations can (very) occasionally be helpful for building proof for a case that has already been solved. But outside a contrived scenario worthy of a Cohen Bros. film it’s impossible for registration to be used to SOLVE a crime.

    • “… it’s impossible for registration to be used to SOLVE a crime.”

      Nope. If someone registers their handgun, uses their handgun as a weapon in a violent crime, credible witnesses to the crime stick around for police, and the attacker leaves their handgun at the crime scene, police will be able to identify the attacker almost immediately.

      Note that this arrangement only “pays dividends” if the attacker is dumb enough to first register their handgun AND leave it at the crime scene — which is exceedingly rare as the source article mentions.

      Note: I emphatically oppose registration because of its ENORMOUS potential for abuse and confiscation.

  4. If you think about it, the concealed carry permit and the national are registration schemes as well. What do you think ?

    • A state or national concealed carry license is a very strong indicator that the licensee owns at least one handgun. What it does not indicate is exactly which handgun/s someone owns.

      So I would say that a concealed carry license is not registration in the strictest sense.

  5. Yep..the law in Michigan was passed with the help of the KKK after this incident

    Basically a black guy used a gun to defend himself. Klan and racists didn’t like it…so with the new law you had to get a purchase permit to buy a handgun(guess what? Police denied blacks those permits)…and you had gun boards setup on Country level to issues Concealed permits(made up of representative from State Police, County Sheriff, and County Prosecutor)… guessed it…Blacks didn’t get those either.

  6. Many comments on here are way off. The guy in the video is Tom Lambert, president of Michigan Open carry. Tom is one person who has worked on this issue. Another person is me.

    Not registering a pistol is a civil infraction, it’s not a crime.

    Registration only applies to the purchaser ( a legal term defined in MCL 28.421).

    The law is clear, many people in Michigan are exempt from the pistol transaction database (it’s NOT a possession database).

    Having an out of state concealed carry license exempts one from the database entirely.

    • Good timing… I’m building an AR pistol (I have a CPL) and was looking through the pistol purchase record requirements and it wasn’t clear to me if a “made” pistol fell under the requirement for register or not. The operative word i seem to be hung up on is “aquire” in mcl 28.422 item (5). “If an individual purchases or otherwise aquires a pistol…”

      • No, contrary to what the MSP tell you. It’s actually felony perjury for you to sign a RI-60 as the purchaser and as the seller. Both terms “purchaser” and “seller” are legally defined in MCL 28.421 and they both require a transaction from another person.

        A non exempt person (registration exempt) is not required to register a “purchase” as you manufactured a pistol. The registration statute simply doesn’t cover manufacturing, no matter how much the state police wish it did.

  7. PLEASE NOTE: Michigan residents may not be eligible for this exemption. Michigan does not recognize non-resident permits from ANY state. The law as stated above does not mention this, but should you end up in court for failure to register a pistol, merely having a non-resident permit from another state may not be enough to save you in the “spirit of the law” since that permit is not recognized by MI. Obviously, the letter of the law SHOULD be what matters, alas it is not always so.

    • We’ve heard this nonsense over and over again. Watch the video and click on the links. We spelled it all out for the lazy naysayers.

  8. OK…I don’t have the time today to read all the responses and I am not going to read them all. I will say this. If you are a MI resident and you buy a pistol from an FFL in MI, you have to register it. MI does NOT honor NON-resident CCW/CPL from ANY other state. They only honor resident CCW/CPL.

    • Wrong.

      Have you read MCL 28.432(1)(f) and seen how it’s NOT the same as MCL 28.432a(h)?

      If you haven’t then please educate yourself on these two sections. Take the time to read what MOC put out as it’s a correct citation to the law.

      You don’t “have to” register pistols in Michigan. I haven’t registered pistols in Michigan for years

      • Just because you haven’t registered them, doesn’t automatically make it right. That just means you haven’t been in a position to have it matter yet. Wait until you have, and then let us know what the court says when they make you pay a fine.

      • I was placed on probation for one year because I received a purchase permit and bought a gun, and I failed to have it registered and was sentenced in court to one year of probation. Never have I been in trouble once in my life.

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