Michigan Bill Would Make Handgun Registration Optional

A proposed bill in Michigan would eliminate the state’s license to purchase or acquire a handgun. Under current law, Michiganders cannot purchase, carry, possess or transport a pistol or other handgun without first having obtained a license for it. This includes acquisitions by purchase, gift or inheritance.

A License to Purchase is not needed for individuals with a valid Michigan Concealed Pistol License, firearms dealers purchasing from wholesalers, or for relics, curios and antiques not made for modern ammunition. Those with a valid Michigan Concealed Pistol License still must complete a Pistol Sales Record when acquiring a pistol, however.

Michigan House Speaker Pro-Tem Lee Chatfield

Republican House Speaker Pro-Tem Lee Chatfield introduced House Bill 4554, which would amend state law on pistol registrations. Speaker Chatfield said that there is no need for the state’s government to maintain a list of those who have legally purchased handguns.

“Michigan is one of just six states in the country that still require handguns to be registered,” Chatfield said in a statement. “Criminals don’t register handguns they misuse for wrong, so what we end up with is a list that intrudes on the civil liberties of honest gun owners exercising their constitutional right to defend their families.”

HB 4554 had 17 co-sponsors when it was introduced to the Michigan House on May 2.

It would end the registration practice and lift the $250 penalty for those who fail to comply. It would allow also those who already have their information on file to have it removed.

According to the group Michigan Open Carry, the state was the first in the country to mandate a required license to purchase a handgun, with efforts to institute such a registration dating back to 1913.

NRA spokesperson Amy Hunter told NPR station WKAR that “there’s no public safety value to it, it doesn’t enable police to keep track of firearms any better, it doesn’t quicken the time in which firearms are traced for the most part.”


The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Judiciary. It would need to pass the full House, full Senate and be approved by Gov. Rick Snyder to become law. — by Texas & U.S. Law Shield blog contributor Peter Suciu


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