If the seller of a handgun is not a federally licensed dealer, Michigan requires that the purchaser have either a valid handgun purchase license or a license to carry a concealed handgun1 See the Michigan Concealed Weapons Permitting section for information about concealed handgun licenses.

Michigan law requires local law enforcement officials2 to issue handgun purchase licenses “with due speed and diligence” to qualified applicants, unless they have probable cause to believe that the applicant would be a threat to himself or herself or to other individuals, or would commit a criminal offense with the handgun.3 The criteria for qualifying for a handgun purchase license are outlined in the Michigan Prohibited Purchasers Generally section.

Applications for handgun purchase licenses must be signed by the applicant under oath upon forms provided by the director of the Department of State Police.4 Such licenses must be executed in triplicate upon forms provided by the director and signed by the licensing authority.5 Three copies of the license must then be delivered to the applicant by the licensing authority.6 A license is void unless used within 30 days after the date it is issued.7

If an individual purchases or otherwise acquires a handgun, the seller must fill out the license forms describing the handgun, together with the date of sale or acquisition, and sign his or her name in ink indicating that the handgun was sold to or otherwise acquired by the purchaser.8 The purchaser shall also sign his or her name in ink indicating the purchase or other acquisition of the pistol from the seller.9 The purchaser shall receive two copies of the license and return one copy to the licensing authority within 10 days after the date the handgun is purchased or acquired.10 The return of the copy to the licensing authority may be made in person or by first-class mail or certified mail sent within the 10-day period to the proper address of the licensing authority.11 A purchaser who fails to comply with the requirements of this subsection is responsible for a state civil infraction and may be fined up to $250.00.12 The licensing authority must also forward a copy of the license to the Department of State Police.13

See the Retention of Sales/Background Checks Records in Michigan section for further information.

A Michigan handgun purchase license holder is exempt from the federally required background check. For further information, see the Michigan Background Checks section.

See our Licensing of Gun Owners or Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Mich. Comp. Laws Serv. § 28.422a(1). A federally licensed firearms dealer is also exempt from the handgun purchase licensing requirement when purchasing and transporting handguns. Id. ⤴︎
  2. I.e., the commissioner or chief of police of a city, township, or village police department, or the sheriff in the parts of a county not included within a city, township, or village having an organized police department, or their duly authorized deputies. Mich. Comp. Laws Serv. § 28.422(3). ⤴︎
  3. Id. ⤴︎
  4. Mich. Comp. Laws Serv. § 28.422(4). ⤴︎
  5. Id. ⤴︎
  6. Id. ⤴︎
  7. Id. ⤴︎
  8. Mich. Comp. Laws Serv. § 28.422(5). ⤴︎
  9. Id. ⤴︎
  10. Id. ⤴︎
  11. Id. ⤴︎
  12. Id. ⤴︎
  13. Id. ⤴︎