What You Need To Know About Gun Rules In Michigan


In the aftermath of a tragic mass shooting on Michigan State University’s East Lansing campus one year ago, which claimed the lives of three students and left five others seriously injured, the state has ushered in a series of comprehensive gun law reforms. These changes, implemented on Tuesday, mark a significant response to the urgent need for enhanced gun safety measures and come two years after the devastating Oxford High School shooting in November 2021.

The Journey to Reform: From Tragedy to Legislative Action

Following the Oxford High School shooting, hopes were high for gun safety laws, but the Republican-led Legislature failed to pass any significant bills. The shift came in January 2023 when Democrats gained the majority in both legislative chambers, paving the way for a series of gun reform policies that have now come into effect. Former Oxford student and advocate Maddie Johnson reflects on the lengthy process and the political challenges faced.

New Policies for Enhanced Gun Safety

Effective January 1, 2024, Michigan introduces a range of gun safety measures, reflecting a broader commitment to preventing gun violence. These policies include universal background checks, the implementation of extreme risk protection orders, expanded bans on firearm ownership for domestic abusers, and stringent requirements for the safe storage of guns and ammunition.

Safe Storage Mandate: Protecting Michigan’s Children

Under the new laws, gun owners are now obligated to store unattended weapons unloaded and securely locked. This mandate is a direct response to the alarming statistics of unintentional firearm deaths among children, as highlighted by a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The law aims to address the risk of minors accessing firearms, with penalties ranging from misdemeanors to severe consequences based on the level of harm caused.

Universal Background Checks: Closing Loopholes and Ensuring Accountability

Previous state law only required background checks for pistol sales, leaving significant gaps in the regulation of other firearms. The new laws bring about a prohibition on purchasing a firearm without a license, extending the mandate for universal background checks to cover all firearm sales. This closes a crucial loophole, ensuring that individuals purchasing long guns undergo the necessary checks and licensure requirements.

Domestic Violence Gun Laws: Strengthening Protections for Survivors

Eight-Year Ban on Misdemeanor Offenders

Recognizing the limitations of previous laws, the new reforms extend the ban on firearm possession for domestic violence offenders. Misdemeanor domestic violence offenses now warrant an eight-year prohibition on possessing, purchasing, and distributing firearms. Advocates argue that this change addresses a lethal loophole and provides a more robust response to escalating danger in domestic violence situations.

‘Red Flag’ Laws: Empowering Judicial Intervention

Extreme Risk Protection Orders for Preventive Action

Michigan introduces “red flag” laws, allowing judges to issue extreme risk protection orders (ERPO) to confiscate firearms from individuals deemed a threat to themselves or others. This life-saving option, particularly for abuse victims hesitant to prosecute criminal charges, offers a temporary removal of firearms, prioritizing the safety of those at risk.

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In the wake of tragedy, Michigan has risen to the challenge, enacting a comprehensive set of gun reforms that reflect a commitment to preventing future violence. From safe storage mandates to universal background checks, the state acknowledges the importance of accountability and public safety. As these laws take effect, they serve as a testament to the resilience and advocacy of those who have spoken out against gun violence, creating a safer and more secure environment for all residents.

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