EXPLAINED: Michigan open carry laws

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — In Michigan, anyone 18 and up can purchase a gun as long as they pass a background check.

Despite the ease of purchasing a firearm, gun laws in the Mitten can be a bit confusing.

6 News’ Samana Sheikh spoke with various law experts who broke down the basics of open carry.

Phil Pucillo is a lawyer and professor at the Michigan State University College of Law. Pucillo says you don’t have to get a gun license to buy a gun if purchasing from an authorized dealer.

“Provided that you pass the background check which several checks will be run before you can leave the gun shop with the weapon as long as you pass the background check you can leave with it that day. You don’t need to apply for a license or permit of any kind just to purchase,” said Pucillo.

The rules to carry a firearm are different if you have a CPL, which is also known as a Concealed Pistol License.

In addition to age requirements, one will have to register their gun with the state.

“So anyone can literally just go into a gun store pass a background check—to buy a gun—and take it anywhere—except for certain areas like schools, banks, courthouses, but if they do have a CPL  they can still go into those designated areas correct?” asked Sheikh.

 “Yes, ironically as long as it’s being displayed openly you can have the gun on your person,” said Pucillo.

Here’s how it breaks down: Michigan law says if you own a gun, you can open carry almost anywhere- as long as it’s not hidden.

But if you don’t have a CPL, then you can’t carry it in certain places, like churches, banks, movie theatres, places of worship, a court, sports arena, daycare and hospitals.

Carrying a gun without a CPL in those places is a 90-day misdemeanor.

“According to the language of the second amendment, it’s a right to bear arms,” continued Pucillo. “Depending upon how that language is interpreted many would interpret that language to include you get to have a firearm on your person.”

There are different rules for pistols and rifles in Michigan.

You don’t need licensing, a permit to carry, or a permit to purchase rifles.

Steve Dulan is a professor of firearms at Western Michigan University’s Cooley Law School in Lansing. Dulan says when it comes to transporting a firearm, it needs to be out of arms reach.

“Whether it’s a pistol or a long gun [it] has to be unloaded, if it’s a pistol it’s gotta be in a case, it’s gotta be in a trunk, it’s gotta be inaccessible to a driver,” said Dulan.

According to the Michigan State Police Training and Standards Division, people who are transporting a pistol with a license can do it when going to and from a hunting area, a place of repair, moving goods from a home or business to another location, an inspection agency, a gun show, a public shooting range, public land where shooting is legal, or private property.

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