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CPL FAQ's/Ask the Lawyer

Q: I work for a major Auto Company and shoot at a range next to the plant. It would be convenient for me to leave my pistol locked in my trunk during the day and shoot after work. The plant has a sign in
the parking lot that says no guns allowed. Am I risking my job if I leave my pistol locked in my car?
A: The short answer is “Yes.” The complete answer is more complex. Michigan law allows a person to carry a concealed pistol “anywhere in this state.” This would seem to cover your employer’s parking lot. But there is an exception found in section 5n(b) which allows an employer to prohibit, “… an employee from carrying a concealed pistol in the course of his or her employment with that employer.” The phrase “in the course of” is not defined in the statute,
but the workers compensation statute contains identical wording. That statute has been interpreted by the courts as, “…the concept of course of employment was formulated to encompass activity falling within the normal
sphere of employee activity associated with the work routine.” Parking your car in the employer’s lot would be within the normal sphere of employee activity associated with the work routine. Michigan courts have almost universally found an employee to be in the course of employment while in the
parking lot or crossing the street between the parking lot and workstation.
Obviously, you are not carrying the pistol while at your workstation, but you would have to “carry” it into and out of the parking lot. You as an employee have a duty to obey legal rules. Unless somehow modified by a collective bargaining agreement, your employer would be justified in firing you if it
discovered that you had a gun in your car.
Q: I live in Kent County and am applying for a concealed pistol license. Kent County requires a ‘mental health’ form signed by a doctor certifying that the applicant has no mental illness. My doctor refuses to sign the form for anyone. I take medication for anxiety and am concerned that there will be misinterpretation or misunderstanding if/when this subject comes up. Is it likely I will have to appear in front of the board? If so, what are my chances of the board understanding that I take the medication for social anxiety, and have no mental illness?
A: MCRGO filed suit against the Kent County Concealed Weapons Licensing Board, the Kent County Clerk, and the Kent County Sheriff in 2003 to challenge the use of this and other of their forms not authorized in the law. In December of 2005, the Chief Judge of Kent County found in favor of MCRGO and ordered the County to stop using their Mental Status Verification form and Name Change and Previous Address form. The Judge found they violated the language and intent of the Concealed Pistol Licensing Act and declared the forms void and unenforceable.

You may have to go before the board. The legal definition of 'mental illness' in the concealed carry law is "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." If your anxiety disorder meets that definition, you are not eligible for a concealed carry permit. If it does not meet that definition, you are eligible. Whether or not you take medication is irrelevant. You are not required to disclose your medication unless it bears on an existing mental illness.
Q: When my father died last year I was depressed and my doctor put me on medication, I soon decided that I did not want to be medicated and stopped taking the drug. With the help of my family, I worked through my grief and I am not currently depressed. Do I have to disclose this episode of depression to the board when I apply for a concealed carry permit?
A: Sometimes I get an easy question. This is an easy one. The question on the CPL application asks if you “currently” have a mental illness. If you do not currently have a mental illness, answer the question NO. You do not have to volunteer that you were depressed in the past.
To search Michigan Compiled Laws (MCL), visit:
Michigan Compiled Law Search
Q: My CCW expires this year. What do I have to do to renew it? Do I have to take the training again.
A: Effective July 1, 2006, Public Act 92 adds additional information about CPL renewal.

First let me talk about a pet peeve. “‘CCW” refers to the crime of “Carrying a Concealed Weapon without a License”. A license to carry a concealed pistol is a “Concealed Pistol License” CPL.

I receive many questions concerning the process to renew a concealed pistol license. The renewal process is not as explicitly set forth in the law as the original application process. Some things will be constant from county to county. Some procedures will require that you check with your own county clerk.

A person who is renewing a license issued under the old law will have to participate in the eight-hour training session that the new law requires. A person who has had the new training only needs a three-hour review and one hour of range time within the six months before applying to renew.

There is no requirement that the three-hour review be formal training. A person could watch NRA video tapes on gun safety and self-defense, or reread the written materials you received initially. Because the law has changed over the past three years, a person should review the changes. Get the new firearm law booklet from the clerk.

Some organizations and businesses will be offering a threehour review. If you want a formal class, check with your local instructors.

Everyone renewing will have to have his or her fingerprints taken and checked again.

There is no renewal application form specified in the law. Some clerks are simply requiring that a renewing applicant fill out the original application again. Some clerks are asking the renewing CPL holder swear that he or she has completed the training and range time. Other clerks want some written documentation. Check with your local county clerk before you go.

Plan ahead. The process will take a significant amount of time because of the fingerprint check. Allow at least two months. Four months would be better.
Q: I live in Detroit. Is there any law against keeping my pistol in an inoperable vehicle I own that I keep outside my home? I realize that it may not be smart to keep my gun there, but is it legal? If the gun is stolen and used in a crime, am I liable for damages?
A: There is no state law against leaving a loaded gun in an inoperable car. There may be a Detroit ordinance against it. If so, it would violate the Michigan firearm preemption law. However, Detroit might try to enforce it against you anyway.

As to your liability if it is stolen and used in a crime, the normal negligence rule is that you are liable for the foreseeable consequences of your own actions. This is tempered with the rule that you are not liable for someone else’s criminal actions.

If I fail to teach my young daughter about guns and leave my firearm out, and she accidentally shoots a playmate, I am liable for my negligence in leaving the gun out. However, a thief could break into my house and steal my pistol. I am not liable for the thief’s subsequent criminal acts. You may remember the uproar last year when a child took a pistol and shot a classmate. This led to some proposed legislation to make gun owners liable for any improper use of their guns. None of the bills that would hold a gun owner strictly liable for the illegal use of their gun became law. Without the legislation, there is no liability. What would probably happen is that you would be sued but after spending a year or two in court, you would be found not to be liable. Be careful, I am attempting to cover two semesters of law school into two paragraphs. If you have specific questions, you should consult a lawyer.
Q: I was stopped by the state police on my way home from my sister’s wedding. I had my pistol in the car with me. I admit I had been drinking, but I did not think that I was drunk. The trooper took my gun and arrested me for impaired driving. I know that I am in trouble, but the trooper said my gun would be destroyed. What happens now with respect to my gun and my CPL?
A: I’m assuming that the pistol was not unloaded, in a case, in the trunk. That is that you were in fact unlawfully carrying a pistol.

The statute states that "An individual shall not carry a concealed pistol while he or she is under the influence of alcoholic liquor or a controlled substance or while having a bodily alcohol content prohibited under this section. (MCL 28.425k)" The alcohol content that is prohibited is .02 grams per 100 milliliters of blood. Depending on your body weight, a person could reach that threshold with one beer. That is why instructors tell trainees not to drink ANY alcohol. Further, "... all pistols, weapons, or devices carried or possessed contrary to this act are declared forfeited to the state, and shall be turned over to the director of the department of state police or his or her designated representative, for disposal under this section. MCL 28.434)" There is no requirement that you be charged with, or convicted of a crime. Also you should realize that, "If the concealed weapon licensing board is notified by a law enforcement agency or prosecuting official that an individual licensed to carry a concealed pistol is charged with a felony or misdemeanor as defined in this act, the concealed weapon licensing board SHALL immediately suspend the individual's license until there is a final disposition of the charge for that offense and send notice of that suspension to the individual's last known address as indicated in the records of the concealed weapon licensing board." (MCL 28.428) In other words, yes the State Police can destroy your pistol and when the prosecuting attorney notifies the concealed weapon licensing board that you are charged with impaired driving your CPL will be suspended and may be revoked.
Q: Is it legal to carry in US Post Offices? From what I have read, I understand that the Federal Law says you cannot carry illegally. If you have a CPL in Michigan, then you are carrying legally.
A: Federal law (18 USC 930) prohibits the possession of firearms in a federal facility but has some exceptions. One exception is " (3) the lawful carrying of firearms or other dangerous weapons in a Federal facility incident to hunting or other lawful purposes."

I think that subsection 3 exempts lawful CPL holders. I have argued this with my postmaster and United State Postal Service inspectors. I have not convinced them. I am not willing to bet a year of my life in a federal prison that a judge will agree with me and not them, so I do not carry in a post office.

My best advice is not to carry in a post office unless you and your postmaster first agree that it is legal.
Q: Is MCRGO going to work on getting the portion of the Michigan law removed which says you cannot carry in a county courthouse?
A: Courthouses are a little complicated. Our system of government is built upon three separate but equal branches of government the executive (governor), legislative and judicial (courts). One branch of government cannot control what the other branch does.

The legislature passed a law that states that a person cannot possess a firearm in certain places including courts, banks, hospitals, etc. (MCL 750.234d). However, that law exempts CPL holders, police officers, and security guards from its provisions.

But, the Michigan Supreme Court controls the courts. The Supreme Court has issued an administrative order requiring all local courts to have a court security plan. That court security plan must specify what items are forbidden and who is exempt from the plan. That is, a court security plan could exempt all police officers or only state police etc. It could forbid pistols or it could forbid pistols, knives, nail files etc.

In any event, the security plan must be in writing. You can inspect the security plan in the courthouse. All the court security plans that I know of forbid pistols. A violation of the court security plan is not a crime. It is a violation of a court order and punishable as contempt of court.

Of course, there are often other offices in the same building as a court. For example, a county building can contain the court, the clerk, treasurer, etc. While the Supreme Court can make rules for the courts, it cannot make rules for the county offices.

The Supreme Court recognizes that “multi-use buildings create special problems”. “Courts should make all reasonable efforts to reach agreements with all entities sharing a building. If the court cannot agree with other tenants and the funding unit, the court needs to clearly define and secure its space.”

Therefore, the answer is that if a county government is using the courts as an excuse to forbid concealed carry in the entire county building. It is wrong. You should go to your county commissioner and complain.
Q: I read in this month’s MCRGO ask the Lawyer (the drunk driver case), that you cannot carry while under the influence of a controlled substance. I take prescription pain pills every day for a bad disk in my back. My only restriction from my doctor is lifting. I can drive, work, etc., while on these pills, but the way I read this, I am not legal.
A: The law (MCL 28.425k) does not say that a person cannot have a concealed pistol after taking a controlled substance. The law says that a person cannot have a concealed pistol while “under the influence” of a controlled substance. If the pain medication affects you to the extent that it affects your ability to walk, talk and reason, you should not be carrying a weapon. If all it does is reduce your pain, you are not “under the influence”. AA.
Q: One of the places that I cannot carry concealed is, "An entertainment facility with a seating capacity of 2,500 or more individuals..." (MCL 28.425o. In a movie theater complex (example 18 screens) is the number of seats the total of each individual room or the total of all rooms combined?
A: The word "facility" is not defined in the statute. When a word does not have a statutory meaning, the dictionary definition applies. One of the meanings given for "facility" in the American Heritage dictionary is, "Something created to serve a particular function." An entertainment facility is something created to supply entertainment. Therefore, the 2,500 seating capacity rule applies to the entire movie complex and not just one theater within the complex.
Q: What are the rules about being in a car with a pistol? If I stop to go into my son's school and leave my pistol in the car with my wife, is that legal?
A: . If I am alone in the passenger compartment of car and there is a pistol on the seat next to them, I am in possession of that pistol. If I have a CPL the possession is legal. If I do not have a CPL the possession is illegal.

If I am alone in a car and an unloaded pistol is in a container in the trunk, it does not matter if I have a CPL because the possession is legal either way.
Q: My friend went to a wedding reception at a hall in Ann Arbor. He was not drinking and had his concealed pistol with him. He had a CPL. Someone called the police and he was arrested. I thought the prohibition on carrying a concealed pistol where alcohol was served was changed to prohibit concealed carry only if the business receives more than 50 percent of its income from alcohol. My friend was released after five hours in jail. Was this right?
A: No it is not right. I hope your friend has hired a lawyer. The police officer was clearly wrong. You are correct that concealed carry is prohibited only where a business receives more than 50 percent of its income from alcohol sales (a bar). So your friend was not violating the restrictions on his CPL. More importantly, the first violation of the restrictions under MCL 28.4250 is a civil violation. It is not a crime. A police officer can only arrest a person for crimes. So even if your friend was violating his license restrictions he should only have been issued a ticket. I repeat, I hope your friend has hired a lawyer. The only way conduct like this will stop is if law enforcement is held accountable for their illegal actions.
Q: It's well known that Michigan law requires an individual licensed to carry a concealed pistol who is stopped by a police officer (traffic stop or otherwise) to immediately disclose to the police officer that he or she is carrying a concealed pistol either on their person or in their motor vehicle. Does this requirement exist outside of Michigan? While on the surface it makes sense to disclose if you're carrying in a state that reciprocates with Michigan law, how about states that do not reciprocate, where you may be merely passing through? In such states, you should properly be transporting and not carrying, but are you still obligated to inform LEOs of the weapon's presence if stopped? I could see where you might be giving up your fifth amendment rights in some circumstances?
A: Good question-Michigan law requires that you disclose the fact that you have a concealed pistol to a law enforcement officer of this or any other state. If you have an unloaded pistol in a case in the trunk, you need not disclose it. See MCL 28.421 for the definition of the peace officers you must disclose to.

Federal law (18 USC 926A) allows a person to transport an unloaded pistol in the trunk of a car (separate from the ammunition) from any place where the possession of the pistol is legal to any other place where the possession is legal.

If you are in a state that does not grant reciprocity to Michigan CPL's and you have a pistol in the passenger compartment, you could either confess to a local felony or have a possible Michigan civil infraction. In such a situation I counsel silence.
Q: I went to troy police department in Oakland county to obtain a purchase permit for a pistol and was denied under MCLA 28.422 because of a alcohol offense with in the last 3 years. Are they allowed to do this. When I lived in Macomb county they never denied me a purchase permit.
A: I do not believe that the Troy police department acted correctly in denying you a pistol purchase permit. The law (MCL 28.422) states that the police shall issue the permit 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."

Probable cause means a belief based upon facts. It is not a suspicion. You conviction of an alcohol related offense does not create probable cause that you are dangerous.

You have two possible ways of attacking the action. 1. You can sue the police. 2. You can go to the mayor or city council and complain about the police action
Q: During my CPL class we were told of the requirement to retreat before using deadly force. Upon reading the deadly force laws I cannot find where it states you must retreat before using deadly force. Could you please point me to the law that states you must retreat.
A: The answer to this question depends on the date. Michigan's new "No Retreat" laws go into effect on October 1, 2006. Prior to this upcoming change, the law stated that generally, you have a duty to retreat before using deadly force. By law, a person must avoid using deadly force if he can safely do so. "Duty to retreat" means that you must attempt to physically escape or evade a confrontation. There were three exceptions to this rule; 1) if you are attacked suddenly and violently, 2) if you cannot retreat safely, 3) if you are in your home or its attached appurtenances.

The new law says you have no duty to retreat, before using deadly or non-deadly force, anywhere you have a legal right to be. Of course, you still may only use deadly force if you are in imminent danger of being killed, seriously injured or sexually assaulted. The new laws are 2006 PA 309 and 2006 PA 313.

Prior to this new legislation, the rules on using deadly force and the "duty to retreat" were case law (common law) based. The new statutes codifies much of the law but also states that except as specifically modified, the common law as it existed on October 1, 2006 remains unchanged.
Q: I had a couple of questions I can't seem to get an answer to. First, my son who has his cpl was stopped by the police and he informed them he was carrying. The officer asked for his weapon and removed it from him, unloaded it, AND unloaded the magazine. After the stop (he was just a passenger), the officer gave hime the weapon an pile of ammo/magazine back to reload himself. I found this quite unnecessary and was really furious over this. I saw no reason for this. Secondly, I purchased a long gun at one of the gun shows and had to have a background check. I asked why and the vendor stated the at the new law says anyone with a cpl dated BEFORE 2005 did not have to go through the background check but mine, dated prior to 2005, had to do so. Is this correct? Doesn't seem right to me. If there is such a ruling, could you please direct me to it?
A: There is no standard way being taught to Michigan law enforcement officers on how to deal with CPL holders.

The Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES) has not yet developed uniform training standards for dealing with law-abiding citizens who are carrying during a traffic stop. This is what I recommend to my students.

It's a basic rule of firearm safety that we don't hand a loaded gun to another person. In dealing with a LEO, especially one not used to lawful citizens carrying, you do NOT want to hand him your gun. Having your gun in your hand is a dangerous situation for him, and for you (and especially for other officers arriving as you are handing it over). Allow the officer to remove it from you; it allows him the control he demands, and it is safer for everyone.

In fact, I recommend that if an officer instructs someone to hand the officer a loaded gun, one should offer to let the officer remove it. You don't want to create a scenario during a traffic stop, where the LEO tells you to hand over your pistol. His partner's watching from the passenger side, therefore he can't hear the instruction; the partner sees you pull your gun. The partner is going to stick his gun in your ear and could ruin your whole day.

If the LEO repeats his direction that you hand your pistol to him, first check for the partner or back-up. Then do it, being careful not to (1) put your finger anywhere near the trigger (2) sweep yourself with the barrel, or (3) sweep LEO with the barrel. It is nearly impossible in a car to accomplish all three.

Take off you entire holster if possible and hand over the package. Perhaps set the pistol down somewhere and step away from it.

I would recommend saying "Officer, I'm uncomfortable handing you a loaded pistol, but I have no problem if you wish to remove it from me yourself." It may be impossible to disarm while sitting in car without sweeping someone with the muzzle.

If the LEO wants to disarm you during the traffic stop, let him. I wouldn't expect the LEO to reload your gun after the stop. I would expect he would hand it back unloaded.

On the NICS check issue, recently Michigan State Attorney General Mike Cox announced that the BATF has approved his request to allow the Michigan Concealed Pistol License as an alternative to the NICS check when purchasing a firearm from an FFL dealer using the ATF Form 4473. This ruling becomes effective on Friday, March 24, 2006. You can read the announcement here.


Note that "Temporary Licenses" will NOT be considered an alternative to the NICS check. In addition, this will only apply to CPL licenses that were issued after November 22, 2005, the date when the new procedural law for background checks on CPL licenses took effect (HB 4978 or Public Act 242 of 2005). It should also be noted that this alternative to the NICS check is not just limited to handgun purchases, but applies to long gun purchases as well!
Q: I have a Mi. CPL. Can I carry a concealed pistol in Mi. State Parks?
A: Yes. The DNR can no longer regulate CPL holders as long as they do not attempt to take game with their firearm. Carrying a pistol in an area frequented by game without a hunting license is allowed if the individual has a concealed weapon permit. Ref: PA 129 & PA 130. The DNR cannot promulgate or enforce a rule that prohibits a CPL holder from carrying on property under the control of the DNR.

Be cautious of legal answers provided on other websites, such as MUCC.org, because they are frequently outdated or wrong. MCRGO is the leader in both the Capitol and the Courts for a reason: our attorneys do their homework!
Q: I am a current CPL holder. I bought a new motorcycle and wondered if it's legal to carry my revolver concealed on me while riding the bike. I also wondered if I can store or conceal the revolver in a locked compartment on the bike.
A: So long as you have a valid, Michigan CPL (Concealed Pistol License), you may carry concealed pistols anywhere in the State of Michigan except for those places listed on the "Pistol Free Areas" list in the statute, or private property where the party in control prohibits weapons in general or asks you specifically not to carry there. Note that the intent of the law is that you should lock your gun in your vehicle when you find yourself about to enter a "Pistol Free Area." (NOTE: I use the quotation marks to indicate that the statute uses the term "Pistol Free Area," but only law-abiding citizens are deterred by the rule.) The question of storage is a question of reasonableness. If you have a compartment on your motorcycle that is secure, you should be fine storing your pistol there. However, if the gun falls into the wrong hands, you could potentially face criminal and civil liability. So, be sure that your method and location of storage pass the "sniff test".
Q: If a CPL holder is carrying and has to be transported to a hospital, and is conscious, what action should they take to ensure the security of their firearm when they reach the hospital which is a "no-carry" zone?
A: I just had this one come up for the first time in class this past Saturday. My answer was that, if a family member cannot take possession of the gun, ambulance companies and hospitals have close relationships with law enforcement and I'm certain that they can arrange for the gun to be taken into "protective custody" until it can be retrieved by the gun owner, or the Personal Representative of his estate. I'm also fairly certain that if if I were unconscious, a law enforcement officer would be called when the gun is found and later returned to me.

Note: In some counties, EMS personnel are trained in what do to with a patient that is carrying. They learn basics on how to remove the gun and unload it. I suppose that if the patient discloses to his caregivers that he has a gun, he is off the hook since he doesn't have the ability to do anything with it (like store it).
Q: I hold a pilots license and a CPL. What rules apply for carry in a private airplane and on the general aviation portion of an airport.
A: Most all of the rules re firearms and airplanes cover a carrier who is required to do "screening." If you are a private pilot those rules don't apply to you. As the Pilot in Charge, you control whether someone can carry in your plane or not. So it depends on you. As long as you do not go into any secure or screened areas, there are no special rules that I am aware of. FAA does have regs on this. I took a hot air balloon ride a while ago. As long as I had permission from the pilot, I could carry in the balloon basket.
Q: As I understand the law, If you are a CPL holder and are carrying a handgun, you are required to immediately disclose to a law enforcement officer that you are legally in "possession" of that firearm (whether on your person or not). This is a quote taken directly from the MSP website: "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". My question is this: what if that handgun is loaded and is in the passenger compartment of your car and a law enforcement officer approaches you in a parking area, or comes to your place of business or to your home (where your car and that handgun are both located). Are you required by the law to disclose that you are legally possessing a concealed handgun (which by definition of the law, you are), even though that handgun is in your car at that time?
A: The key word in the language of the statute that you quote from the MSP website is "carrying." The point of the law is that law enforcement officers know, for their own safety, when someone they are dealing with is armed. The drafters of the statute wanted to make it clear that you are still in possession of the gun while you in the car with the gun, even if it is not actually in your pocket or holster. If you are not in your car, and the gun is in your car, you are not "carrying" or in possession of the gun. However, there may be an argument that if it is within your "lunge area," meaning that you can easily reach it in one quick motion, it is in your possession. So, if you are standing right next to your car and there is a gun in the car, and you are "stopped" meaning you are having some kind of official interaction with the officer (as opposed to simply saying "nice day isn't it" as the officer walks by), you should probably disclose. 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: I am a MCRGO member. I have a concealed pistol permit (CPL). In the car I frequently stash a pistol out of sight next to me in the car. If I am stopped by the police will I be penalized for not having it unloaded, encased and stashed in the back? I do have a lock box in the back to use if I am gone from the car. This may not satisfy the encased requirement since it is not a gun case, and, do I have to unload it when I leave it in the car?
A: If you have a CPL there are no rules on how you must transport it. Do what ever you want. IF you have a CPL, the gun can be loaded. That is the entire purpose of the CPL. You do not have to unload it when you leave it in the car but putting it the lock box would be a good idea.

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