Michigan Compiled Laws Service Section 123.1102 provides:

A local unit of government shall not impose special taxation on, enact or enforce any ordinance or regulation pertaining to, or regulate in any other manner the ownership, registration, purchase, sale, transfer, transportation, or possession of pistols, other firearms, or pneumatic guns, ammunition for pistols or other firearms, or components of pistols or other firearms, except as otherwise provided by federal law or a law of this state.1

Exceptions to Section 123.1102 include local legislation:

  • Prohibiting or regulating conduct with a firearm or pneumatic gun that is a criminal offense under state law2;
  • Prohibiting or regulating the transportation, carrying, or possession of firearms or pneumatic guns by employees of a local unit of government in the course of their employment with that local unit of government3; and
  • Prohibiting the discharge of firearms or pneumatic guns (with some restrictions on the latter prohibition) within the jurisdiction of a city or charter township4.

In the 2003 case Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners v. City of Ferndale, 662 N.W.2d 864 (Mich. Ct. App. 2003), the Court of Appeals of Michigan sustained a section 123.1102 challenge to a city ordinance making public buildings gun-free zones. The court stated that a local law is preempted by state law if the state law completely occupies the field the ordinance attempts to regulate, or if the ordinance directly conflicts with a state law.5

The court stated that section 123.1102 demonstrates that “in effect, state law completely occupies the field of regulation that the Ferndale ordinance seeks to enter,” namely, the carrying or possession of firearms.6 According to the court, the ordinance would only be allowable if a federal or state law existed which expressly permitted the regulation. Finding no law allowing the Ferndale ordinance, the court determined that the ordinance was preempted by section 123.1102.7

In Morgan v. United States DOJ, 473 F. Supp. 2d 756 (E.D. Mich. 2007), a federal district court held that a Redford Township zoning ordinance restricting the sale of firearms in a designated residential area was not preempted by section 123.1102. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives denied renewal of plaintiff’s Federal Firearms License over concerns that the township interpreted its residential zoning plan as prohibiting the sale of firearms in premises located in residential districts. Plaintiff sued on several grounds, including that section 123.1102 preempted the zoning restriction. The court found that section 123.1102 does not preempt the zoning restriction because “zoning ordinances of general application merely regulate the location of certain categories of businesses, activities, or dwellings” and do not enter into the substantive field of regulation governing a particular business, activity or dwelling.8

The Michigan Attorney General has opined that local units of government “may not require an applicant for a license to purchase a pistol to provide his or her fingerprints” before issuance of the license.9 While the opinion was supported by several statutes, the Attorney General found primary support for this conclusion in section 123.1102 – a statute which, in the Attorney General’s opinion, occupies the “field of firearm regulation.”10

Notes
  1. Mich. Comp. Laws Serv. § 123.1102. ⤴︎
  2. Mich. Comp. Laws Serv. § 123.1103 ⤴︎
  3. Id. ⤴︎
  4. Mich. Comp. Laws Serv. § 123.1104 ⤴︎
  5. Responsible Gun Owners, 662 N.W.2d at 868. ⤴︎
  6. Id. at 872. ⤴︎
  7. Id. at 872-874. ⤴︎
  8. Morgan, 473 F. Supp. 2d at 770 (emphasis in original). ⤴︎
  9. Mich. Op. Att’y Gen. 7152 (2004), 2004 Mich. AG LEXIS 9, *8. ⤴︎
  10. Mich. Op. Att’y Gen. 7152 (2004), 2004 Mich. AG LEXIS 9, *7. ⤴︎