Open Carry w/out a CPL:
A person without a CPL can legally open carry a pistol as long as the pistol they are carrying has been lawfully purchased in accordance with MCL 28.422 and is registered in their name and they are at least 18 years of age. Without a CPL you may NOT carry a firearm that belongs to and is registered to someone other than yourself.
MCL 28.422(1) states that “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.”
As the above cited law states a person may not carry or possess a firearm without obtaining it in accordance with that particular law. Therefore if you have obtained a firearm in accordance with MCL 28.422 by receiving a permit to purchase or by purchasing a firearm from a Federal Firearms Licensed dealer as the law dictates then you may lawfully open carry that pistol.
Pistol Free Zones with no CPL
There are many places you should be aware of where someone without a CPL may NOT possess a firearm, which includes open carry. The following is the list of prohibited places which is located in MCL 750.234d:
(1) Except as provided in subsection (2), a person shall not possess a firearm on the premises of any of the following:
(a) A depository financial institution or a subsidiary or affiliate of a depository financial institution.
(b) A church or other house of religious worship.
(c) A court.
(d) A theatre
(e) A sports arena.
(f) A day care center.
(g) A hospital.
(h) An establishment licensed under the Michigan liquor control act, Act No. 8 of the Public Acts of the Extra Session of 1933, being sections 436.1 to 436.58 of the Michigan Compiled Laws.
It is very important that you pay attention to and understand what (h) in the above list is referring to. An establishment that is licensed by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission refers to any business that is licensed by the state of Michigan to sell alcohol. The key phrase here is sell alcohol, it does not matter if it is consumed on the premises, if they are licensed to sell alcohol (and regardless of if they do) you may not possess a firearm on the premises without a valid CPL. Premises (arguably) include the parking area and surrounding property that any of the above is on.
You can find out what businesses in your county are licensed by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission by going to the following website:
There is an exception to the above law, MCL 750.234d(2)(d):
(2) This section does not apply to any of the following:
(d) A person who possesses a firearm on the premises of an entity described in subsection (1) if that possession is with the permission of the owner or an agent of the owner of that entity.
If you do not have a CPL and you receive permission from the owner or agent of the owner (manager/supervisor) that you are allowed to carry while visiting their establishment then you would not be in violation of the above cited law and you can lawfully open carry at that establishment. We encourage and suggest that the permission is given in written form so you have physical evidence that you were granted permission.
If a location that you are visiting is not listed or does not fall within the above law then you may lawfully open carry there regardless if you possess a CPL or not.
In addition to knowing where you can and cannot go you will also need to know how to get there and back, the following will review how to transport a firearm without a CPL.
Transportation without a CPL:
A person without a CPL is prohibited under MCL 750.227 (2) from possessing a pistol in the passenger compartment of a vehicle:
"(2) A person shall not carry a pistol concealed on or about his or her person, or, whether concealed or otherwise, in a vehicle operated or occupied by the person, except in his or her dwelling house, place of business, or on other land possessed by the person, without a license to carry the pistol as provided by law and if licensed, shall not carry the pistol in a place or manner inconsistent with any restrictions upon such license."
What that means is that you cannot carry a pistol in your vehicle in Michigan without a CPL. Even if your pistol is not concealed, it still falls under the "otherwise" clause in the statute upon entering a vehicle.
There is an exception for transporting a firearm, however you need to be very diligent in making sure you are complying with all aspects of the law as it is very easy to slip and face felony charges for carrying a concealed weapon. Below will describe how you can transport your firearm safely and lawfully for open carry if you do not have a CPL.
MCL 750.231a details how someone may lawfully transport a firearm:
(d) To a person while transporting a pistol for a lawful purpose that is licensed by the owner or occupant of the motor vehicle in compliance with section 2 of 1927 PA 372, MCL 28.422, and the pistol is unloaded in a closed case designed for the storage of firearms in the trunk of the vehicle.
(e) To a person while transporting a pistol for a lawful purpose that is licensed by the owner or occupant of the motor vehicle in compliance with section 2 of 1927 PA 372, MCL 28.422, and the pistol is unloaded in a closed case designed for the storage of firearms in a vehicle that does not have a trunk and is not readily accessible to the occupants of the vehicle.
To transport your pistol you are required to have the pistol unloaded and enclosed in a case that is designed for the storage of firearms and the encased pistol has to be in the trunk of the vehicle or if there is no trunk it has to be not easily accessible to the people in the vehicle. It would be suggested that if you do not have a trunk to have a case that you can lock or place a lock onto, if it ever were to come into question its always best to appear to be making every attempt to comply with the law. The pistol and magazine do NOT have to be separated as it is not a requirement under MCL 750.231a, the firearm has to be unloaded which means no magazine in the firearm and no round chambered. The magazine can be in the same container as the firearm itself as long as the magazine is not loaded into the magazine well while you are transporting.
To ready your firearm for transportation here are the steps to follow:
- Walk to the back of the vehicle with your firearms case
- With both case and firearm completely outside of the vehicle find a spot to place your firearms case.
- Unholster your pistol and remove the magazine and any rounds that might be chambered.
- If you prefer you may place the round that was once chambered back into the magazine.
- Place both the completely unloaded pistol and the (which is allowed to be loaded) magazine in your firearms case.
- Place the firearm which is now located in your firearms case in the trunk of the vehicle and close the trunk.
You are ready to transport.
If you do NOT have a trunk place the encased and completely unloaded firearm at what is preferably the furthest most point in your vehicle where you or someone else will not be able to easily access it, if you have a lock on your firearms case secure the lock into the ‘locked’ state.
When you arrive at the destination where you can lawfully open carry you will need to retrieve your firearm from the trunk for the vehicle, or if there is no trunk from the location you placed the encased firearm. To retrieve your firearm follow the above steps in the reverse order:
- Open the trunk (or locate your encased firearm)
- Take the encased firearm and yourself completely outside of the vehicle, to include the trunk space
- Open the case
- Load your firearm
- Place the now empty container back into your trunk or vehicle if you have no trunk
Go about your business and open carry.
When handling your firearm at your trunk please remember all safe firearm handling practices to avoid any unwanted accidents, the firearm is required to be handled out of necessity due to the current laws, only handle your firearm when necessary and always be safe.
Also see Michigan State Police Update #86 for more information.