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Helpful Resources
  • Michigan State Police CPL
  • Pistol Free Zones
  • Michigan Legislature HB6337, (new cpl law - PA 719) Eff. July 1, 2003
  • Michigan Firearms Act 372 of 1927, Public Act 381, Eff. July 1, 2001
  • Attorney General Opinions interpreting 2000 PA 381
  • Michigan Concealed Pistol Licensure Report 2002
  • Michigan Concealed Pistol Licensure Report 2003
  • Michigan Concealed Pistol Licensure Report 2004
  • Michigan Concealed Pistol Licensure Report 2005
  • Michigan Concealed Pistol Licensure Report 2006
  • CPL Renewal Information
  • MSP Frequently Asked Questions
  • Pistol Registration, Purchase, and Transfer for Michigan Residents
  • Michigan Firearms Forms
    If MCRGO has helped you, you can help other responsible Michigan firearm enthusiasts by joining the largest State-based firearms advocate in America. Our membership is what keeps us strong and active in the courts, fighting for our firearms rights and confronting those who attack our 2nd Amendment.

    MCRGO can assist its members with firearms-related legal matters and questions. If you need help or would like to ask a question, contact our corporate counsel. Contact information and "Ask the Lawyer" forms are located in our member's area.
    CPL FAQ's/Ask the Lawyer

    Q: I am interested in obtaining a Michigan concealed pistol license, but don't know where to go for training. Can MCRGO help me get started with this process?
    A: Yes. MCRGO maintains a list of NRA certified instructors that is available HERE, or by clicking the tab at the top of this page. You may also visit our list of Affiliate Clubs to locate one in your area. Most of Michigan's gun clubs offer a varity of training, including the training to obtain your concealed pistol license.
    Q: What are the requirements to receive a concealed pistol permit?
    A: Basic requirements are: You must be 21 years of age or older; Citizen of the United States or a Resident Alien; Resident of Michigan for at least 6 months; Successful completion of Pistol Safety Training Course. The complete list of requirements can be found HERE.
    Q: How do I get a CPL application kit?
    A: You need to visit your local police agency or County clerk and obtain a free Concealed pistol application kit. Additional processing information can be found HERE.
    Q: What number can I call to find the status of my fingerprint card, and what causes delays?
    A: Phone 517-322-5531 or 517-332-2521. This is a general information number for the MSP Criminal Justice Information Center. There will be a series of prompts from which you will need to select the correct information. Hint: If your are curious about when the MSP received your card, the date your check was cashed will also be the date MSP received your fingerprint card. Currently, MSP has an 8 to 10 week turnaround time. Additionally, some local sherriffs depts do not send in the cards right away, causing additional delay.
    Q: For the purposes of this law, what is a "Mental Illness" that can disqualify an applicant?
    A: "Mental Illness" means a substantial disorder of thought or mood that significantly impairs judgment, behavior, capacity to recognize reality, or ability to cope with the ordinary demands of life, and includes, but is not limited to, clinical depression. Also read AG Opinion 7189 of Mar'06
    Q: Do I have to apply in my county of residence? I have a summer place I spend a few weeks in every year?
    A: Yes, you have to apply in the county you officially reside in. The address on your driver's license or voter's registration card determines your official address
    Q: How long will the process take?
    A: It's reasonable to expect it to take a couple of months (one to three) from the time the new application and fingerprints are filed to receiving the permit. As far as renewals, the gun board must issue or deny a renewal within 60 days from when the application was properly submitted. The clerk shall issue a receipt when you turn in your renewal. If the gun board fails to act within 60 days, your license is extended 180 days or until your new one is issued. You must carry the receipt and the expired license.
    Q: Can I appeal a denial that I think was unfair?
    A: Yes. An appeal can be made to the Circuit Court. They will order that a permit must be issued if the board's denial was in error. The Court will order the State and County to pay the applicant's legal fees if they find that the denial was arbitrary and capricious.
    Q: Are there any places where I may not carry a concealed pistol?
    A: Anyone licensed to carry a concealed pistol from Michigan or another state shall not carry a concealed pistol in any of the pistol free zones. For a complete list, please see: Pistol Free Areas.
    Q: Can I have a drink and carry?
    A: An individual licensed to carry a concealed pistol shall not possess a concealed pistol on their person or motor vehicle while they have any bodily alcohol content (.02 bodily alcohol content [BAC] or above) or a controlled substance. Additional details and penalties may be found HERE.
    Q: Can I carry more than one gun?
    A: Yes. The permit does not list specific guns nor does it limit the number of guns that can be carried.
    Q: Once I'm carrying, how do I handle traffic stops or other encounters with peace officers?
    A: An individual licensed to carry a concealed pistol who is stopped by a police officer (traffic stop or otherwise) shall immediately disclose to the police officer that he or she is carrying a concealed pistol either on their person or in their motor vehicle. Additional information can be read HERE.
    Q: I was recently stopped by a law enforcement officer. Upon informing the officer that I have a CCW and that I was carrying a pistol on my person, the officer requested that I relinquish my firearm and he took it to his vehicle with him. Is this standard procedure for the police?
    A: In certain circumstances, a law enforcement officer may take temporary possession of the weapon during interaction with the individual to ensure the safety of the officer and others. The police officer will return the pistol at the end of the stop unless the individual is being charged with a violation of the act or any other law that allows for the weapon to be seized.
    Q: Will a law enforcement officer know, from my vehicle registration (license plate) or other I.D., that I have a license?
    A: Probably. If they elect to run a Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN) check on your name the data returned will include whether or not you have a CCW.
    Q: Can I use my CCW license to purchase a pistol instead of a License to Purchase?
    A: Yes. A new CCW license (issued after July 1, 2001) may be used to buy a pistol. You present your license and the seller will complete a sales form and return it to the Michigan State Police per the directions on the form. The purchaser can give the seller a blank form to help expedite the sale. These forms are available HERE.
    Q: I don't have a CCW. How can I legally transport a pistol in a motor vehicle?
    A: The law changed in March of 2002 from the old "to and from" rules. You may now transport a pistol for any lawful purpose as long as it is stored correctly. The new law defines "lawful purpose" to include the old "to and from" rules but those are only examples of lawful purposes and do not exclude other lawful purposes. Remember, a pistol carried in the passenger compartment of a vehicle, except under the circumstances below where there is no trunk, will be considered concealed, whether it is in plain view or not. The proper way to transport a pistol in a vehicle if you do not hold a CPL permit.

    The pistol must be:
    registered (has had a "safety inspection") to the owner of the motor vehicle or to an occupant of the motor vehicle in a closed case designed for the storage of firearms; and in the trunk, or for a vehicle which does not have a trunk, where the closed case designed for the storage of firearms is not readily accessible to the occupants of the vehicle.
    Q: Can a Michigan resident with Michigan CCW permit carry a concealed pistol in another state?
    A: If you are a Michigan resident with a Michigan concealed pistol permit and want to carry your pistol into another state you are strongly encouraged to contact that state for information on their concealed pistol law. A Michigan CCW permit does not supersede any other state’s law or CCW requirements.
    (See our list of States that recognize your Michigan CCW permit HERE)
    Q: Can a non-resident of Michigan carry a concealed pistol in Michigan?
    A: If you are a non-resident of Michigan with a valid concealed pistol permit from your home state, Michigan will recognize your permit. However, you must carry in conformance with any and all restrictions appearing on the permit. You are subject to Michigan’s concealed pistol law including but not limited to restrictions on where a concealed pistol may be carried.
    Q: How do I go about changing the address on my Concealed Pistol License (CPL)?
    A: There is no requirement in the statute that you have to notify anyone when you move after receiving a CPL. In fact there is no procedure established to change your address on the CPL on in the State Police database. However a section of the law (MCL28.425f) states: An individual who is licensed under this act to carry a concealed pistol shall show both of the following to a peace officer upon request by that officer:
    (a) His or her CPL.
    (b) His or her drivers license or Michigan personal identification card.
    Since you must change your address on your drivers license or Michigan ID card, you will have documentation of your new address in your possession.
    Q: You were quoted as saying 'open-carry' was still legal in Michigan. I am in possession of a CPL, now but I cannot find any reference to open-carry in my copy of the Michigan Firearms Laws. Please clarify. What is open-carry? When does it apply as compared to my CPL?

    In the 19th century, Michigan outlawed the carry of concealed weapons. The rational was that a person could use a concealed pistol in a fight and surprise his or her opponent. That is, a person had a right to know if the other person was armed before getting in a dispute. Michigan has forbidden the carrying of a pistol without a license in a motor vehicle, whether concealed or not, for much the same reason. Poachers who would hunt from cars may very well be the reason that we can only carry our long guns cased or in the truck of an automobile (MCL 324.43513). There are other laws that forbid the carrying of pistols with an unlawful intent (MCL 750.226), and the brandishing of a firearm (MCL 750.234e). Since there are no laws that forbid it, the open carrying of a pistol or other firearm, without unlawful intent and without brandishing, outside of a vehicle is legal.

    Q: I have a person in Michigan who wishes to sell a handgun to a relative in Indiana. Does he just need a dealer to send the gun to me to make the sale?
    A: Generally you are prohibited from acquiring firearms outside your State of residence or transferring firearms to nonlicensees who reside out-of-State. Long guns may be purchased in a state contiguous to Michigan.

    In all other cases, you must go thru an FFL dealer to affect a transfer. You can send the firearm to a FFL in another state. That FFL can transfer to the buyer.
    Q: There are businesses which have signs that prohibit concealed carry in their stores. In Ohio they boycot businesses which chose to discriminate against CPL holders, we should do the same?
    A: MCRGO has been active in discouraging "no gun" rules, ever since July 1, 2001, when the new CPL went into effect. The usual procedure is first to talk with the manager of the business, pointing out that a CPL licensee has gone through a rather intense vetting before he obtains his license -- and ask the manager how many of his customers are as certifiably law-abiding. Failing that, send some photos of the signs to the MCRGO office manager so that this banning can be publicized. Sometimes one of our attorneys writes a polite letter to the establishment. In most instances that I know of in Michigan, the organization has backed off from banning CPL licensees. We have never gone to a full-blown boycott, and I personally don't think we should, as an owner of a private establishment has the legal right to ban guns if he wishes, or to prohibit bare feet, etc.
    Q: Q: I have a firearm that is more than 26 inches long that was previously registered as a pistol in Michigan. Can I continue to carry it loaded in my vehicle under my Concealed Pistol License?
    A: Yes, probably. MCL 750.228 states:

    "(1) A person may lawfully own, possess, carry, or transport as a pistol a firearm greater than 26 inches in length if all of the following conditions apply:

    (a) The person registered the firearm as a pistol under section 2 or 2a of 1927 PA 372, MCL 28.422 and 28.422a, before January 1, 2013.

    (b) The person who registered the firearm as described in subdivision (a) has maintained registration of the firearm since January 1, 2013 without lapse.

    (c) The person possesses a copy of the license or record issued to him or her under section 2 or 2a of 1927 PA 372, MCL 28.422 and 28.422a.

    (2) A person who satisfies all of the conditions listed under subsection (1) nevertheless may elect to have the firearm not be considered to be a pistol. A person who makes the election under this subsection shall notify the department of state police of the election in a manner prescribed by that department."

    So, as long as it was registered as a pistol prior to January 1st of this year (2013), has remained registered, and you have the paperwork showing that it was, you may continue to treat it as a pistol with respect to your CPL.
    Q: My county clerk won’t accept my NRA Personal Protection in the Home Course certificate because it was issued more than 1 year ago. Is she correct?
    A: No, NRA certificates do not expire or go “stale.” The NRA alone decides how long their certificates are valid, not county gun boards. According to the law, it is NOT the responsibility of the county gun board to review or approve pistol safety training programs. The statute only states that the applicant must present a certificate signed by a certified firearms instructor with a statement that the course complies with the requirements of the law and that the individual successfully completed the course. If the validity of a certificate comes into question, the board may wish to confirm the firearm instructor’s certification with the organization that provided certification. In most cases, that is the NRA. It is a 4-year felony to issue a bogus certificate. That is intended to keep instructors honest.

    There is similar situation where I have seen clerks attempt to reject certificates because they do not contain the language set forth in MCL §28.425j. Pursuant to 2004 PA 254, after October 1, 2004, the pistol safety training certificate must read “This course complies with section 5j of 1927 PA 372.” Of course, if your certificate was issued before that date, it probably contains something similar but not exact. The ones I issued before October 1, 2004 state, “This course meets the requirements of 1927 PA 372 as amended by 2000 PA 381 5j and 2002 PA 719.” If you are in this situation you have two choices, 1) you can point out to the clerk that the new “magic” language of MCL §28.425j only applies to pistol safety training certificates issued after October 1, 2004, or 2) you can have the instructor that issued the certificate either add the “magic” language for you or give you permission to add it yourself.
    Q: I heard that Michigan law on owning and possessing machine guns changed recently. Can a Michigan resident own a machine gun now?
    A: What you heard about is a recent Attorney General Opinion (#7183) issued in December of 2005. It reversed and superceded an earlier, longstanding Attorney General Opinion (#5210 1977-78). Both opinions interpret MCL 750.224 which prohibits possession of machine guns except for those “licensed” to possess them. The old Attorney General Opinion reached the conclusion that a private citizen could not possess a machine gun because Michigan does not have any provisions for licensing them. The new Attorney General Opinion states that the Federal approval process for ownership and transfer of machine guns is a “license” under the statute and therefore, a Michigan resident can possess a machine gun as long as it is lawfully possessed under federal law. Generally, this means the machine gun was properly registered before May 19, 1986 and was lawfully possessed on that date or lawfully transferred after that date.
    Q: I have a friend who has purchased a hand gun and he has had problems getting it registered because the Sheriff's office has limited hours for registation of guns.
    A: MCL 28.422 (3) says: The commissioner or chief of police of a city, township, or village police department that issues licenses to purchase, carry, or transport pistols, or his or her duly authorized deputy, or the sheriff or his or her duly authorized deputy, in the parts of a county not included within a city, township, or village having an organized police department, in discharging the duty to issue licenses shall with due speed and diligence issue licenses to purchase, carry, or transport pistols to qualified applicants residing within the city, village, township, or county, as applicable unless he or she has probable cause to believe that the applicant would be a threat to himself or herself or to other individuals, or would commit an offense with the pistol that would violate a law of this or another state or of the United States.

    MCL 28.422 (5) says: Upon the sale of the pistol, the seller shall fill out the license forms describing the pistol sold, together with the date of sale, and sign his or her name in ink indicating that the pistol was sold to the licensee. The licensee shall also sign his or her name in ink indicating the purchase of the pistol from the seller. The seller may retain a copy of the license as a record of the sale of the pistol. The licensee shall return 2 copies of the license to the licensing authority within 10 days following the purchase of the pistol.

    MCL 28.422 (12) says: A licensing authority shall implement this section during all of the licensing authority's normal business hours and shall set hours for implementation that allow an applicant to use the license within the time period set forth in subsection (6).

    I would call your local sheriff and ask him to adjust his hours to accommodate the law. If this doesn't work. Have a lawyer write the letter.
    Q: I hold a current Michigan CPL and have a question. According to my understanding of MI's CPL Law, a concealed pistol may be carried anywhere in the state except in "Gun Free Zones" as established by law. My question is this, while I know that firearms are prohibited in the secure area of an airport, what about the Non-secure areas; specifically the baggage claim areas, ticket counters, cafe's (not bars) waiting area just outside passenger screening? Is the entire Airport terminal considered a Gun-Free Zone?
    A: As far as airports are concerned, you may carry there up to the point you have to go past a screener. So the areas outside the screeners are open to you. Additional information about firearms and ammunition in airports can be found at the Transportation Security Administration's website.
    Q: If I am a Passenger in my wife's car and she is pulled over by a police officer for a traffic violation, do I have to inform the officer that I am carrying? If so how is that done?
    A: I take the position that in your scenario only your wife has been "stopped" so you would not technically have to disclose. I know other lawyers that say otherwise. But, as a courtesy to law enforcement and your own safety, I teach you should disclose the fact that you are carrying anyway. You just tell the officer that you have a CPL and a gun on your person or in the car.

    Note: It is always recommended that you disclose when in doubt. There is no negative legal consequence to disclosure. The only negative consequence comes from a failure to disclose.
    Q: This past fall I was issued a misdemeanor citation by a conservation officer for failure to immediately tag a deer. There were mitigating circumstances which my attorney brought up with the prosecutor. The case was subsequently dismissed with the court entering an Order of Nolle Prosequi. I never went to trial nor paid any fine. How does this affect, if at all, my use of my CPL? I have not carried since the citation was originally issued. I am a resident of Wayne County, and getting answers to such questions from the County is quite difficult.
    A: The law lists a number of misdemeanors and felonies that impact CPL applicants and holders. However, there is a presumption of innocence in the United States that means that only convictions can be held against you. So, an arrest that did not lead to conviction does not have any effect on your CPL application or the license itself.
    Q: I was nearly attacked by a loose German Shepard dog while going for my morning walk down the public street recently. I ran and jumped a nearby fence to get away. Had the fence not been there the dog would of got me. I had my concealed pistol on me but did not want to use it unless I had to. What are my rights under the law pertaining to animals threatning to attach a person walking down the street. Can I use a pistol against a threatning animal or only against a person.I have a valid Mi. CPL.
    A: Under Michigan law, any use of a firearm is an application of deadly force. Deadly force is legally permissible when it is proportional to the threat. Meaning, that deadly force may be used to prevent death, great bodily harm that could lead to death, or rape. It is entirely possible that an animal could do great bodily harm that could lead to death. So, it is possible that the use of a pistol against an attacking dog would be a justifiable use of force. Keep in mind that the circumstances would have to be such that you are in a place where you have a legal right to be, and that there is sufficient indication that your life is in danger when you fire. If you were to fire when the dog is too far away, or running away, or if you hit something other than the dog, or the dog is a toy poodle, you might face serious legal consequences. The key is that any use of force must be reasonable under the circumstances. I admire your restraint and think that the policy of not using our pistols unless we absolutely have to is the wise course of action.

    While the answer contains statements of law and practical advice that are essentially correct, it is worth noting that dogs are covered by different laws than human beings. Under Michigan law, a dog is an item of personal property.

    There is a statute in Michigan which states that "Any person...may kill any dog which he sees in the act of pursuing, worrying, or wounding any livestock or poultry or attacking persons, and there shall be no liability on such person in damages or otherwise, for such killing."

    However, there is another statute which states that "willfully and maliciously killing or injuring animals" is a felony punishable by up to 4 years in prison.

    The practical advice given last week remains unchanged. Only use your pistol if you have to. If you or someone else is in danger of attack by an animal, use your pistol or other firearm to defend yourself and your loved ones.
    Q: I work for a large international company. The company has a "no weapons on site" policy, which they extend to the parking lot. In light of the recent MCRGO email stating that "parking lots of pistol-free zones are not considered pistol-free zones", does my employer have an enforceable policy for someone with a CPL who secures their pistol in their vehicle while at work? If not, how would one approach them about the issue?
    A: The pistol-free zones are established by statute. Essentially, they mean that your CPL is void in those areas. The legislature decided to exempt parking lots so that you can lawfully store your pistol in your car (securely) when you go into one of the places on the list, such as a hospital, without having to go all the way back home and lock your gun in your safe before returning. In addition to the pistol-free zones, any private entity (person or corporation) who owns or controls real estate, has the right to say who has pistols on that property. If the corporation has a blanket policy against all weapons "on site," that can be reasonably interpreted to mean the parking lot. It is certainly within the corporation's authority to ban any person or thing from its property, including the parking lots. This is a seperate issue from the pistol-free zones listed in the Michigan statute.
    Q: I am an employee at a large manufacturing facility in Michigan and know that all of our facilities have signs posted at the entrance prohibiting weapons. These signs display a pistol circled with a slash thru it. I had been under the impression that as an employee they have the right to impose and enforce such a policy but that non-employees were not subject to these sort of policies. I was also under the impression that this would be considered a public place. If a CPL holder has the right to carry in any public place with the exceptions specified by law, how does one distinguish between a public and private place. Would not all privately owned business such as a shopping mall have the option to impose such bans? Thank you for your ENews letter, I find them to be very helpful and informative.
    A: Many of the places that we commonly think of as "public" are in fact privately owned. The fact that a private business or place, such as a shopping mall, invites the public in to conduct business does not mean that it is not privately owned. In fact, most of us spend a vast majority of our time in places that are privately owned. You are, of course, correct in saying that your employer has the right to prohibit weapons, including firearms, on its premises. This prohibition may include both employees and customers. The decision is solely the corporation's. Shopping malls may, and some do, prohibit firearms.
    Q: When I go to somewhere that is a "No carry zone" I store my pistol locked in a "Center of Mass Safe" attached under my car seat in my locked vehicle. Is it legal to store it loaded that way or do I need to unload it? My concern is that the more "stuff" you have to do when storing the gun...the more chance that someone passing by will see/wonder what you are doing.
    A: The law does not specifically require that your gun be unloaded in these situations. As long as your gun is reasonably safe and secure, it is highly unlikely that you'll be faced with any legal issues regarding storage. I am encouraged by the fact that your question reveals an awareness of the issues that can arise when a member of the public sees your gun and calls it in to law enforcement. I think that all of us with CPL licenses should take steps to try to prevent being the subject of the "man/woman with a gun" call. At best, such calls waste everyone's time. At worst, they can end in tragedy. I applaud your awareness of the potential issues and the fact that you have installed a safe in your vehicle.
    Q: Can I carry my concealed pistol in National Parks?
    A: A change in federal law effective Monday, February 22, 2010 allows firearms in many national parks. People who can legally possess firearms under federal and state law can now possess those firearms in the national parks in that state. The new law (Sec. 512 of P.L. 111-24) was passed by Congress and signed last May by the President. Prior to February 22, firearms have generally been prohibited in national parks except in some Alaska parks and those parks that allow hunting. State and local firearms laws vary. Visitors who would like to bring a firearm with them to a national park need to understand and comply with the applicable laws. More than 30 national parks are located in more than one state, so visitors need to know where they are in those parks and which states law applies. For nearly 100 years, the mission of the National Park Service has been to protect and preserve the parks and to help all visitors enjoy them, National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis said. We will administer this law as we do all others - fairly and consistently. Federal law continues to prohibit the possession of firearms in designated federal facilities in national parks, for example, visitor centers, offices, or maintenance buildings. These places are posted with 'firearms prohibited' signs at public entrances. The new law also does not change prohibitions on the use of firearms in national parks and does not change hunting regulations. Park websites have been updated to include links to state firearms laws to help visitors understand the law and plan accordingly. Sec. 512 of P.L. 111-24, an amendment to the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act of 2009, also directs the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to follow state and local firearms laws in national wildlife refuges. Links: - nps.gov - Michigan's National Parks and wilderness areas.
    Q: My CPL has the box labeled "Exempt from Pistol Free zones MCL28.425o(4)" checked. How does this affect my carrying my firearm in an establishment which has a "No Firearms Allowed" posting?
    A: Even those who are exempt from the Pistol Free Zones established in the statute must still honor the wishes of any party in control of real estate regarding the possession of weapons on the premises. If you disregard a sign or a verbal or written notice that guns are not allowed in a particular location, your legal status is that of trespasser. One of the results is that you are no longer covered by the "Stand Your Ground" law that went into effect late last year. The Stand Your Ground rule allows individuals to use proportional force in self defense without having to retreat, so long as they are in a place where they have a legal right to be. Even a CPL holder who is exempt from the Pistol Free Zones loses this legal protection while carrying in violation of a posted notice that guns are not allowed on the premises.

    A quick review of proportionality: Any use of a firearm will probably be considered an application of deadly force. Deadly force is only appropriate in self defense when it is proportional to the threat. So, a firearm may only be used to prevent death, great bodily harm that could lead to death, or rape. Deadly force in defense of others is allowed so long as the person being defended would have been justified in using deadly force to protect him or herself. Think of yourself as "stepping into the shoes" of the person you are defending. Ask yourself the question, "If I were that person, would I be justified in shooting?" If the answer is yes, your discharge of your firearm will be considered an action taken in the legally protected defense of another.
    Q: I have a question about ammunition for self defense. If I was to carry my Glock with Black Talon ammunition and used my pistol in self defense, would I have any problems based on the type of ammunition I was using being "extreme"? I generally carry Powerball or HydraShok but I do have some Black Talons and am wondering if I would create a problem for myself by carrying with them. And, yes, I understand that all of the bad press and rumors about Black Talons were just anti gun media hysteria.
    A: This issue would likely be of minor consequence in any criminal trial resulting from a defensive use of your pistol. There is no legal prohibition that I am aware of against Black Talon ammo. However, when I am teaching the legal portion of CPL classes, I often suggest that it is not a bad idea to take appearances into account.

    We who carry pistols for self-defense are an often-misunderstood minority of the population. While there have been major strides towards creating a rational legal environment in recent years, specifically: the Stand Your Ground law that went into effect late last year with the full support of MCRGO, it is still possible that the circumstances surrounding a self-defense shooting might lead to a prosecution of a citizen who successfully defends himself.

    If that happens, you will likely face a jury made up of individuals who are unfamiliar with firearms and ammo and may even question the legitimacy of carrying a gun for self defense purposes. As we are all painfully aware, there are members of the jury pool who subscribe to the view that citizens who carry for self-defense are really just looking for an opportunity to shoot someone.

    It is not beyond imagination that a zealous prosecutor could try to sway a jury by pointing out that the ammo in your weapon has a scary name. Because it is carried by police, HydraShok is generally considered "good guy" ammo. Personally, I've always thought that "Silvertip" evokes the image of the Lone Ranger and is generally accepted as "good guy" ammo. That said, MCRGO does not endorse any specific brand of ammunition, and my understanding is that Black Talon is considered by experts to be effective, reliable ammunition. Whichever ammo you choose to carry, the most important considerations will be whether your use of force was proportional to the threat presented, and reasonable under the circumstances.
    Q: I know that you are not allowed to carry in a tavern where the primary source of income is the sale of alcoholic liquor by the glass consumed on the premises". How am I supposed to determine their ratio of food to liquor sales? I don't feel I should have to ask the proprietor. I like to eat at a local tavern, and during the day it is filled with customers eating meals, but I am sure that in the evening the crowd is more oriented to drinking. Am I OK to carry during the day, but not at night? All of the time? Never?
    A: You are correct in stating that a CPL (Concealed Pistol License) is not valid in an establishment that derives the majority of its income from the sale of alcoholic liquor by the glass. Since this law is still relatively new, we don't have much in the line of case law precedent to guide us on how you are supposed to know whether you can lawfully carry in places such as the one you describe above.

    In conversations with law enforcement officers, I am most often told: "You know a bar when you see one." While that is not a bright line legal standard, it is the kind of thinking that is likely to guide law enforcement officers when they are exercising their discretion and choosing whether to make an issue of your carrying in a certain establishment.

    My best practical advice is to consult with the city, township, or county agency that has jurisdiction over your favorite place and simply ask them whether they consider the place a bar or restaurant. Many law enforcement agencies have compiled lists of the establishments in their jurisdictions that are considered "taverns" or "bars" where a CPL is not valid. While this is not a perfect solution, it is my personal opinion that there should be more conversation between law enforcement and armed citizens on such issues. Most responsible law enforcement officials have long since realized that responsible citizens are not a threat (in fact, we are the most law-abiding segment of Michigan's population) and will appreciate your efforts to prevent any future misunderstanding.

    In any event, the rule does not allow for a change depending on the time of day and the revenue mix during a certain time period. An establishment either does, or does not, derive most of its income from alcohol. So, the rule applies to certain businesses (bars, taverns) at all times, and does not apply to other businesses at all (restaurants that happen to serve alcohol.)

    If you were actually charged with a violation of the "pistol free zone" rules, it would probably be necessary to review the financial records of the business in order to determine whether a violation occurred. Of course the conservative advice to a CPL holder is to simply not carry in areas where your rights to carry are unclear. As a CPL holder myself, I recognize that this is unsatisfying advice. However, it is simply the best that we can do at this point in the development of this area of law.

    I should point out that some states prohibit concealed carry in any establishment that sells alcohol at all. While those laws are certainly more easy to interpret, they are also even more restrictive of our constitutional right to bear arms.

    An issue that is related to your question is the issue of carrying while under the influence of alcohol. Remember: no matter where you are, you may not carry concealed with any alcohol in your system. The legal limit of .02 BAC is essentially a zero tolerance standard since the amount of alcohol that must be consumed to get most individuals to that level is miniscule. If you are going to have a beer or a glass of wine with dinner, put your unloaded pistol into a locked case in the farthest rear area of your vehicle and be sure that you don't drive that, or any, vehicle if you are at or above .08 BAC.
    Q: Now during the summer months etc. if you carry say a snubbie holstered in a "IWB" and the handle shows, is that legal or brandishing?
    A: Brandishing means to "display in a threatening manner." While it would probably be a defensible charge under the circumstances that you describe, it is not unimaginable that the situation could lead to criminal charges. Some (certainly not all) cops operate on the principle of "when in doubt, make the arrest." And some prosecutors don't support our CPL rights and are predisposed to "get guns off the street." Even if a charge of brandishing is not brought, many localities have ordinances prohibiting any conduct that is a "breach of the public peace and order," (or words to that effect). Perhaps of greater concern is the fact that an inadvertent slip which reveals all or part of a holstered gun could possibly lead to a dangerous "man with a gun" call to police. I have been on police ride-alongs and seen what happens when such a call comes over the radio. Every police officer within range of the radio call speeds to the scene in an effort to join in the fray. Driving at 100+ mph with lights and sirens going gets the adrenaline pumping. Once on the scene, the cops are generally highly agitated and pointing their loaded weapons at the individual who is the subject of the call, all the while shouting commands. Even if no arrest is made, and no charges filed, the scenario is dangerous and inconvenient for all concerned.

    Combine that with the practical issue that was best summed up by Ted Nugent who said that open carry "offers no tactical advantage," and your best bet is to get good leather, the right clothing, and keep your gun concealed until/unless you need it to save a life.

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