Michigan’s Concealed Weapon Laws

Michigan laws set forth strict requirements and prohibitions for carrying a concealed pistol within the state. From obtaining a concealed pistol license (CPL) to restrictions on where concealed pistols can be carried, these weapons laws also establish the criminal charges and penalties for failure to comply with them. Understanding how concealed weapons laws in Michigan apply to you and/or a criminal case can be essential to protecting your rights, both in and outside the courtroom.

To clarify some of the key points of these statutes, the following shares key information about Michigan’s concealed weapons laws. A Lansing criminal defense attorney at O’Keefe Law can provide more information, answers, and advice related to your situation whenever you need it.

What Is a Concealed Weapon?

As opposed to a weapon that is openly carried, a concealed weapon is one that is not clearly visible to the common observer. Here, it’s crucial to note that:

  • Holstered weapons are not, by definition, considered to be concealed; they will be concealed if they are hidden from view.
  • Weapons in motor vehicles cannot, by definition, be carried openly. Therefore, a CPL is needed to carry a pistol in a motor vehicle. Without a CPL, motorists can only transport unloaded pistols kept in firearm containers, as long as they are somewhere that is not accessible from the vehicle’s cabin, like in the trunk.

The only individuals who can legally carry a concealed pistol in Michigan include law enforcement officers, CPL holders (Michigan residents), and residents of other states who have valid concealed carry permits (as long as their state has a reciprocity agreement with Michigan).

What Weapons Are Prohibited Under Michigan’s Concealed Carry Law?

Certain weapons and equipment used with them are prohibited by Michigan law, regardless of whether an individual has a CPL or acceptable equivalent. These include (and are not limited to):

  • Ammunition: Armor-piercing ammunition is illegal under Michigan law.
  • Equipment and accessories: This includes mufflers and silencers.
  • Firearms: Automatic weapons, machine guns, and short-barreled rifles/shotguns are illegal weapons for concealed and open carry (in addition to being illegal to own in Michigan).

When Is Concealed Carry Prohibited in Michigan?

CPL holders are barred by law from carrying a concealed pistol in certain places, including (but not limited to):

  • Weapon-free school zones: Concealed pistols cannot be carried on public or private school property for K through 12 schools. This includes child-care facilities, college dorms, and classrooms for higher education. It also includes vehicles used to transport students, like school buses, but it does not include parents’ private vehicles. In fact, parents taking kids to school or picking them up are legally allowed to carry a concealed pistol in their vehicles, as long as they have a valid CPL.
  • Places of worship: This includes churches, synagogues, temples, mosques, and any other facility or property used as a place of worship. However, authorities who run places of worship can decide to void this ban on their premises.
  • Liquor-selling establishments: This covers businesses like bars and pubs that sell alcohol by the glass for the purposes of on-site consumption.
  • Large venues: Some examples include stadiums, sports arenas, and entertainment venues that can seat at least 2,500 people.
  • Other areas: Hospitals, casinos, airports, and other places specified by federal law are also prohibited when it comes to carrying a concealed pistol in Michigan.

How Do I Get a CPL in Michigan?

To get a concealed pistol license in Michigan, you need to confirm you are eligible and, if so, complete the application process.

Who Cannot Get a CPL in Michigan?

Bars to eligibility can be temporary or permanent, with some including:

  • Legal incapacitation: This can cover incapacity caused by physical impairments and/or mental conditions.
  • Involuntary committal to a mental health institution: Once someone has been committed against their will, they are permanently disqualified from obtaining a CPL in Michigan.
  • Receiving a “not guilty by reason of insanity” finding in a prior criminal case: This adjudication, whether or not it results in committal to a mental health facility, will also be a permanent disqualification for CPLs in Michigan.
  • Being the subject of certain court orders or bonds: This includes protection orders, which may be ordered as part of another criminal case (or civil matter). Anyone who has been ordered by the court to stay away from someone else will not be allowed to obtain a CPL while that order is active. Similarly, those who are under active bond orders that specifically prohibits gun possession will not be able to obtain a CPL.
  • Having certain misdemeanor and/or felony convictions on your criminal record: While these convictions may permanently bar people from obtaining a concealed pistol license, some may still be able to get their gun rights restored on a limited basis if they satisfy all the terms of any court-ordered penalties and wait a certain number of years.

What Does the Michigan CPL Application Involve?

Applications, available online here, must be completed and submitted to the county clerk (in your county of residence). When you do that, you will also need to:

  • Complete the required firearm safety training course
  • Sign the application, under oath, with the clerk or a representative acting as a witness
  • Go for fingerprinting and pay the required fees (before or after submitting the application)
  • Pay the CPL application fee
  • Under the required background check

Once a complete application (with fees, fingerprints, and proof of safety training) has been submitted, the applicant can expect notification of a decision within 45 days.

What Are the Penalties For Unlawfully Carrying a Concealed Weapon in Michigan?

The penalties and the charges involved will depend on several factors, including (but not limited to):

  • Who the accused individual is: Is the accused on probation or parole? Does (s)he have a criminal record and/or a valid CPL?
  • The weapon: Was the weapon legal or was it a prohibited weapon? Was the weapon obtained from an authorized dealer or was it stolen? Again,
  • The circumstances: Was the weapon brought to a prohibited place? If so, where? Was anyone hurt as a result of the concealed carry offense?

Based on these and other details, multiple charges can be involved, and if they are, more serious penalties can be a very real possibility.

In the most basic form, charges for carrying a concealed weapon in a prohibited place are Class E felonies in Michigan. These can be punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or up to $2,500 in fines, upon conviction.

Partner with an Experienced Lansing Lawyer for a Strong Defense: Contact O’Keefe Law

If you or someone you love has been accused of illegally carrying a concealed weapon, you can turn to Lansing Criminal Defense Lawyer Patrick William O’Keefe for strong, strategic defense representation.

The truth is that when you’re facing misdemeanor or felony charges:

  • There’s a lot at risk: A conviction can have lasting impacts that may extend far past court penalties. While prison and hefty fines can suck away precious time and money, the criminal record may impact future career, borrowing, and/or education opportunities.
  • You can only clear your name by winning in court: Prosecutors are working hard to get convictions, and you’ll need to be ready to stand up to them in court to protect your rights, your reputation, and your future.
  • Your lawyer can make a big difference: An experienced attorney can help unravel the prosecution’s case while working to obtain the best outcomes possible. That’s exactly what we do at O’Keefe Law—we don’t just fight for shorter sentences; we aim for dismissals, acquittals, and alternatives to incarceration whenever possible.

The sooner you contact O’Keefe Law, the sooner you can get the defense you need to fight for fair, favorable outcomes.

Call 517-273-0421 or email O’Keefe Law for a free, confidential consultation and important advice about your defense options.

If you contact just one attorney, you must contact board-certified Attorney Patrick William O’Keefe. He provides the defense representation he would demand in your shoes, backed by client-centered service and a record of successfully resolving various types of criminal cases.

The team at O’Keefe Law looks forward to hearing from you and helping you with a weapons case or any criminal case. In the meantime, check out some of our previous results and client testimonials to learn more about why we are a 5-star criminal defense law firm in and around Lansing, MI.

Remember, it is never too early to hire the right attorney, but it could be too late.