Violations of Open Carry Laws in Michigan

Criminal Law
Violations of Open Carry Laws in Michigan

Violations of Open Carry Laws in Michigan

by Justin Van Den Heuvel

Firearms and weapons offenses are extremely serious crimes in Michigan. There are many responsible gun owners in our state who should not have to worry about being wrongly accused of a weapons offense. However, there are many laws in place in Michigan surrounding the possession and use of firearms, including the open carry of firearms. As such, even an innocent mistake—simply not knowing when or where open carry is illegal—can result in a very serious charge. For instance, while Michigan is an open carry state (meaning that the open carry of firearms is permitted), there are still certain premises upon which the open carry of a firearm is a violation of the law.

If you are a responsible gun owner but have questions about open carry or concealed carry, it is important to learn more about the specifics of Michigan firearms law.

When and Where is Open Carry Illegal?

When and where can you engage in open carry of firearms in Michigan? And when and where is open carry prohibited? In general, as a fact sheet from a Michigan State Police explains, “it is legal for a person to carry a firearm in public as long as the person is carrying the firearm with lawful intent and the firearm is not concealed.” There is no specific law indicating that the open carry of firearms is legal, but since there is no law that generally prohibits open carry, we know that it is allowed in Michigan. Yet there are limitations and exceptions.

Under Michigan Compiled Laws (MCL) Section 750.234d, it is illegal to possess a firearm—in other words, to open carry—on any of the following premises:

  • Depository financial institution (such as a bank or a credit union);
  • Church or another place of religious worship;
  • Court;
  • Theater;
  • Sports arena;
  • Day care center;
  • Hospital; and
  • Establishment that has been licensed under the Liquor Control Code.

If a person is found in violation of this law, then she or he can be charged with a 90 day misdemeanor. However, there are also exceptions to this law. Possession of firearms is legal on the premises listed above if any of the following is true:

  • Firearm is possessed for purposes of providing security and the person possessing the firearm has been hired as security;
  • Peace officer is the person possessing the firearm;
  • Person in possession of the firearm has a valid concealed pistol license (CPL) issued by Michigan or another state; and/or
  • Person in possession of the firearm has permission from the owner or the owner’s agent to possess the weapon.

Private Property and Permission of the Owner

In addition to the premises listed above, private property owners also have rights with regard to who can be on their premises with a firearm. Under MCL Section 750.552, private property owners can prohibit an individual from possessing a firearm on their property—whether open carry or concealed carry. This is true even if the person possessing the firearm has a concealed pistol license (CPL).

The owner only must tell the person possessing the firearm to leave the property. If the person stays on the property after being told to leave, then she or he can be charged with trespassing.

Contact a Grand Rapids Criminal Defense Lawyer

Are you facing a firearms charge in Michigan? An experienced Michigan criminal defense attorney can assist with your case. Contact Van Den Heuvel Law Office to learn more about how we can assist you.



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