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This is a must read if you are thinking about obtaining a gun or a Concealed Pistol License. Obtaining a Concealed Pistol License (CPL) is easy. For those meeting CPL eligibility, attending a CPL class and shooting your firearm at a close range target is about all that is required. However, once you obtain a CPL, you will need to be constantly vigilant when you are carrying your firearm, handling your firearm and storing your firearm. I would urge anyone that has a Concealed Pistol License (CPL) to get a lawyer on retainer for any possible predicaments or advice as necessary with issues that may be on the horizon. We believe that most CPL holders are responsible and never have a desire to use a firearm against another human being unless absolutely necessary for self-defense. However, knowing when you can act in self-defense and what to do if you use a firearm are of the utmost importance if you are thinking about carrying a firearm. If you use a gun against another person, the police will conduct an investigation according to assault and homicide protocol. You may be the one that ends up calling the police if nobody else is around. The 911 recording will be kept as evidence. Whatever you say on that 911 call could be the difference between winning a trial on self-defense grounds or getting convicted of a felony. The police will also take witness statements from the friends of the bad guy. What do you they will say about the incident? In addition to the police, if you draw your gun and shoot someone, family members of the bad guy will attempt to vilify you and put pressure on the police and prosecutor to take criminal action for an assault or a homicide crime even though you acted in justifiable self-defense.

Potential criminal charges for drawing or using a firearm against another person

If you carry a concealed weapon (CCW) without a permit, it is a felony punishable by up to five (5) years in prison. Whether you have a permit to carry or not, once a gun is drawn in the presence of another person, there is the possibility of being charged with an assault crime and/or firearm crime, such as:

  • Assault with a dangerous weapon
  • Assault with intent to do great bodily harm
  • Assault with intent to murder
  • Homicide
  • Intentionally discharging a firearm aimed without malice
  • Possession a firearm on prohibited premises
  • Brandishing a firearm
  • Reckless discharge of a firearm
  • Possession of firearm under the influence

A criminal defense lawyer can estimate whether you will be treated as a hero or a criminal for using a firearm against another person. It is important for anyone with a CPL to know things such as whether it is permissible or a crime to use a gun from a moving vehicle or whether you can draw your weapon to scare off an annoying person.

Basic rules of self-defense

Michigan is a Castle Doctrine state and has a “stand your ground” law. A person may use deadly force, with no duty to retreat anywhere he or she has the legal right to be. Any person who uses a gun legitimately in self-defense has immunity from civil liability.

Use of Non-deadly Force: An individual not engaged in the commission of a crime may use non-deadly force against another individual anywhere he or she has the legal right to be with no duty to retreat if the person honestly and reasonably believes that the use of that force is necessary to defend himself or herself or another individual from the imminent unlawful use of force by another individual.

Use of Deadly Force: An individual not engaged in the commission of a crime may use deadly force against another individual anywhere he or she has the legal right to be with no duty to retreat if the person honestly and reasonably believes that the use of that force is necessary to prevent:

  • Imminent death of or imminent great bodily harm to himself or herself or to another individual; or
  • Imminent sexual assault of himself or herself or of another individual.

Be a student and practice the art of self-defense

It is important to continuously practice using a firearm and research various firearm and self-defense scenarios that you might encounter. It is also wise to consider self-defense training for situations when a firearm is not appropriate or your firearm is not readily accessible.

There is no such thing as “one size fits all” when it comes to self-defense. Fortunately, there are numerous outstanding resources and courses available to keep yourself sharp and prepared to defend yourself should the need arise.  The internet is a vast source of every imaginable self-defense situation that you possibly could encounter:

There are countless scenarios that you need to consider when acting in self-defense either with or without a firearm. Do your research on common self-defense situations. Also, ask your lawyer about matters that might seem obscure but that could arise such as whether it is ever appropriate to use your firearm from a moving vehicle against another person in a moving vehicle. Here is what we say in our website about using a firearm from a moving vehicle:

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CPL Eligibility in Michigan

It’s a felony in Michigan to carry a concealed pistol on your person or in a motor vehicle without a CPL. However, if you meet the legal requirements, you are entitled to obtain a license to carry a concealed pistol (CPL). An applicant for a Michigan CPL must:

  1. Be at least 21 years of age.
  2. Be a citizen of the United States or an alien lawfully admitted into the United States.
  3. Be a legal resident of Michigan and reside in Michigan for at least six-months immediately prior to application.  An applicant is a resident of Michigan if one of the following applies: possesses a valid Michigan driver’s license or official personal identification card or is lawfully registered to vote in Michigan.

Note: The county clerk shall waive the six-month residency requirement: for an emergency license, if the applicant is a petitioner for a personal protection order or the county sheriff determines that there is clear and convincing evidence to believe that the safety of the applicant or the safety of a member of the applicant’s family or household is endangered by the applicant’s inability to immediately obtain a license to carry a concealed pistol.

  1. Successfully completing an appropriate pistol safety training course or class.
  2. Not be subject to an order or disposition for any of the following:
  • Involuntary hospitalization or involuntary alternative treatment.
  • Legal incapacitation.
  • Personal protection order.
  • Bond or conditional release prohibiting purchase or possession of a firearm.
  • Finding of not guilty by reason of insanity.
  1. Not be prohibited from possessing, using, transporting, selling, purchasing, carrying, shipping, receiving, or distributing a firearm under MCL 750.224f.
  2. Have never been convicted of a felony in Michigan or elsewhere, and a felony charge against the applicant is not pending in Michigan or elsewhere at the time he or she applies for a CPL.
  3. Have not been dishonorably discharged from the United States Armed Forces.

Gun rights impacted by misdemeanor and felony convictions

 Pursuant to Michigan and federal law, you cannot own or possess any firearm (pistol or rifle) with any felony conviction. If you are charged with a felony, getting a felony criminal defense lawyer to fight the case is the key to preserving your Second Amendment rights. Misdemeanor convictions are a problem for a person trying to get a CPL. The right to obtain a CPL is denied 3 to 8 years upon conviction of selected misdemeanors.  Misdemeanor representation is crucial if you are charged with a misdemeanor under state law or local ordinance and you value your criminal record and/or CPL rights. There are many ways that a criminal defense lawyer can fight to save your record and gun rights. MCL

-8-year period of denial misdemeanors: A person convicted of any of the following common offenses is required to wait eight (8) years before applying for a CPL:

  • MCL 257.617a, failing to stop when involved in a personal injury accident
  • MCL 257.625, operating while intoxicated punishable as a second offense
  • MCL 257.626, reckless driving
  • MCL 257.904(1), DWLS punishable as a second offense
  • MCL 750.81, assault or domestic assault
  • MCL 750.81a(1) or (2), aggravated assault or aggravated domestic assault
  • MCL 750.115, breaking and entering or entering without breaking
  • MCL 750.136b(7), fourth-degree child abuse
  • MCL 750.226a, sale or possession of a switchblade
  • MCL 750.227c, improper transporting or possessing a loaded firearm in or upon a vehicle
  • MCL 750.232, failure to register the purchase of a firearm or a firearm component
  • MCL 750.232a, improperly obtaining a pistol, making a false statement on an application to purchase a pistol,
  • MCL 750.233, intentionally pointing or aiming a firearm without malice
  • MCL 750.234, discharging a firearm while intentionally aimed without malice
  • MCL 750.234d, possessing a firearm on prohibited premises
  • MCL 750.234e, brandishing a firearm in public
  • MCL 750.234f, possession of a firearm in public by an individual less than 18 years of age
  • MCL 750.235, discharging a firearm pointed or aimed intentionally without malice causing injury
  • MCL 750.237, possessing or discharging a firearm while under the influence
  • MCL 750.237a, weapon-free school zone violation
  • MCL 750.335a, indecent exposure
  • MCL 750.411h, stalking
  • MCL 750.520e, fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct
  • MCL 752.861, careless, reckless, or negligent use of a firearm resulting in injury or death
  • MCL 752.862, careless, reckless, or negligent use of a firearm resulting in property damage
  • MCL 752.863a, reckless discharge of a firearm

-3-year period of denial misdemeanors:  A person convicted of any of the following common offenses is required to wait eight (8) years before applying for a CPL:

  • MCL 257.625, operating while intoxicated, visibly impaired, under 21 years of age with any bodily alcohol content, or with any presence of a Schedule 1 controlled substance or cocaine
  • MCL 257.625a, refusal of commercial motor vehicle operator to submit to a preliminary chemical breath test
  • MCL 257.625k, ignition interlock device reporting violation
  • MCL 257.625l, circumventing or tampering with an ignition interlocking device
  • MCL 333.7401 to 333.7461, controlled substance violation
  • MCL 750.167, disorderly person
  • MCL 750.174, embezzlement
  • MCL 750.218, false pretenses with intent to defraud or cheat
  • MCL 750.356, larceny
  • MCL 750.356d, retail fraud second or third degree
  • MCL 750.359, larceny from vacant structure or building
  • MCL 750.362, larceny by conversion
  • MCL 750.362a, refuse or neglect to return vehicle, trailer, or other tangible property delivered on a rental or lease basis with intent to defraud the lessor
  • MCL 750.377a, malicious destruction of personal property
  • MCL 750.380, malicious destruction of real property
  • MCL 750.535, receiving, possessing or concealing stolen, embezzled, or converted property
  • MCL 750.540e, malicious use of service provided by telecommunications service provider

Additional misdemeanors that will result in CPL denial periods are listed at MCL 28.425b.

Pistol Free Zones

Pursuant to  MCL 28.425o, it is illegal for a person with a CPL to carry a pistol at the following places:

  • School property except while dropping off or picking up a student.
  • Day care center, child caring agency, or public or private child placing agency,
  • Sports arena or stadium,
    A tavern where the primary source of income is the sale of alcoholic liquor by the glass consumed on the premises,
  • Any property or facility owned or operated by a church, synagogue, mosque, temple, or other place of worship, unless the presiding official allows concealed weapons.
  • An entertainment facility that has a seating capacity of 2,500 or more,
  • Hospital,
  • Dormitory or classroom of a community college, college, or university,
  • Casino

Furthermore, per Administrative Order 2001-1 of the Michigan Supreme Court:

  • “Weapons are not permitted in any courtroom, office, or other space used for official court business or by judicial employees unless the chief judge or other person designated by the chief judge has given prior approval consistent with the court’s written policy.”

The following penalties may also be imposed for carrying a concealed weapon in a pistol free zone:

  • First offense:  State Civil Infraction, $500 fine, CPL permit suspended 6 months
  • Second offense:  90-day misdemeanor, $1000 fine, CPL permit revoked
  • Third and subsequent offenses:  4-year felony, $5000 fine, CPL permit revoked

Declaring your CPL when confronted or pulled over by the police

Pursuant to MCL 28.425f, an individual that is licensed to carry a concealed weapon shall carry his or her CPL and state issued driver license or personal identification card while carrying a concealed weapon. Upon being confronted (pulled over, etc.), the individual carrying a concealed pistol shall show both pieces of identification to the peace officer and IMMEDIATELY disclose that he or she is carrying a concealed pistol on his or her person or in his or her vehicle.  The penalty for lack of identification is a state civil infraction. The penalty for failing to immediately disclose (carrying a firearm) is civil infraction subject to the following:

  • For a first offense, by a fine of $500.00 and by the individual’s license to carry a concealed pistol being suspended for 6 months.
  • For a subsequent offense within 3 years of a prior offense, by a fine of $1,000.00 and by the individual’s license to carry a concealed pistol being revoked.

Brandishing a firearm

CPL holders need to know that a firearm should not be produced unless absolutely necessary and in justifiable self-defense. Brandishing a firearm is a crime that involves production of a firearm for the purpose of intimidation but does not amount to aiming or an assault crime. MCL 750.234e, provides that a person shall not willfully and knowingly brandish a firearm in public, subject to the following exceptions:

  • A peace officer lawfully performing his or her duties as a peace officer.
  • A person lawfully acting in self-defense or defense of another under the self-defense act.

The federal definition of brandishing is as follows:  to display all or part of the firearm, or otherwise make the presence of the firearm known to another person, in order to intimidate that person, regardless of whether the firearm is directly visible to that person.

Brandishing a firearm is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or a fine of not more than $100.00, or both. In addition, a person convicted of brandishing will be denied the right to apply for a CPL for 8 years.

It is a good practice to be a private person about your firearms and your CPL. Don’t flaunt your firearm or show off.  Once a person knows that you have a firearm, it is very easy to be accused of brandishing or some other crime that can jeopardize your record and your rights. Unfortunately, fighting a lie or proving a negative is not the easiest thing to do.

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Michigan citizens are serious about their Second Amendment firearm gun rights

We are living in an unprecedented time. On top of the Covid-19 global pandemic, there are racial tensions, social unrest, unemployment, pandemic lockdown measures, social isolation and tumultuous politics. All of this friction is making people feel nervous, frustrated and afraid. There are conspiracy theories and fears that the election may bring about stricter gun laws. People are arming themselves in record numbers to feel safe.

Michigan Firearm Carry Laws

In the State of Michigan, it is always legal for an individual to keep a firearm at his or her residence and place of business. However, carrying a concealed weapon without a CPL in a motor vehicle, or other place outside of the home or business, is a felony that can carry 5 years in prison. Here are the basic rules in Michigan regarding open and concealed carrying of a firearm:

Open Carry: In Michigan, it is legal for a person to carry a firearm in public (open carry) as long as the person is carrying the firearm with lawful intent and the firearm is not concealed. You will not find a law that states it is legal to openly carry a firearm. It is legal because there is no Michigan law that prohibits it; however, Michigan law limits the premises on which a person may carry a firearm. There is no such right to “open carry” a firearm in a motor vehicle unless it is being lawfully transported.

Carrying a Concealed Weapon: You may conceal-carry a pistol in a motor vehicle and non-restricted places with a Michigan Concealed Pistol License (CPL) but it is a serious felony to carry a concealed weapon without a CPL.

-Concealed Defined: The carrying of a pistol in a holster or belt outside the clothing is not considered carrying a concealed weapon. However, carrying a pistol under a coat is carrying a concealed weapon. Attorney General Opinion 1945, O-3158. According to the Court of Appeals a weapon is concealed if it is not observed by those casually observing the suspect as people do in the ordinary course and usual associations of life. People v. Reynolds, 38 Mich App. 159 (1970).

Transporting a pistol without a CPL: You may transport a pistol in a motor vehicle without a CPL if it is being transported for a lawful purpose and according to strict requirements (unloaded, separated from ammo and occupants).

MCL 750.227 is the Michigan Statute which makes it a felony to carry a concealed weapon:  A person shall not carry a pistol concealed on or about his or her person, or, whether concealed or otherwise, in a vehicle operated or occupied by the person, except in his or her dwelling house, place of business, or on other land possessed by the person, without a license to carry the pistol as provided by law and if licensed, shall not carry the pistol in a place or manner inconsistent with any restrictions upon such license. A person who violates this section is guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment for not more than 5 years, or by a fine of not more than $2,500.00.

Transporting a Firearm in a Motor Vehicle

Michigan law details how firearms may be transported in a vehicle. MCL 750.227c and MCL 750.227d discuss the transportation of firearms, other than pistols, in vehicles. It is a felony for a person without a CPL to transport a pistol  in a motor vehicle. MCL 750.231.a provides the exceptions to this rule. In general, the statute allows for transportation of a pistol for a lawful purpose which includes going to or from any of the following:

  • A hunting or target area
  • A place of repair
  • Moving goods from a home or business to another home or business
  • A law enforcement agency for a safety inspection or to turn the pistol over to the police
  • A gun show or place of sale or purchase
  • A public shooting facility
  • Public land where shooting is legal
  • Private property where a pistol may be lawfully used

Properly transporting a pistol requires that it be unloaded, kept in closed case designed for firearms, and in the trunk or not be readily accessible to the occupants if the vehicle does not have a trunk. There is no way to “open carry” a pistol in a vehicle. An individual, without a CPL or who transports a pistol in a vehicle without having a lawful purpose as stated above, may be in violation of MCL 750.227, the carrying concealed weapons statute.

Macomb County & Metro Detroit: Record gun sales in 2020

According to FBI data, 27 million guns, a record number, were sold in the United States in 2016. According to a CNN article, it expected that the gun sales record of 2016 will be broken before the end of this year. In September alone there was a 61% increase in gun sales from the same month in 2019. Gun retailers and industry analysts say its normal for Americans to stock up on firearms and ammo during an election year. According to the analysts, the surge is motivated by fears that a Democratic president might expand restrictions on gun ownership. But this year’s sales spike is different because it’s being driven by a rise in first-time gun buyers, especially among African Americans and women.  Macomb County is mirroring the national trend with gun and ammunition sales up sharply in 2020 amid the Covid-19 pandemic and other concerns.

Felony conviction precludes possession or ownership of a firearm

CCW is classified as a felony. Pursuant to federal laws, a person convicted of a felony loses Second Amendment rights and cannot own or possess a firearm. Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon carries up to ten (10) years in prison.

If you are charged with CCW in the counties of Macomb, Oakland or Wayne, then you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer for felony representation to help you avoid a felony and retain your Second Amendment rights as is explained in more detail below.

Other Common Crimes Involving Firearms

A felony conviction means never being able to own a gun without restoring gun rights after a ten (10) year waiting period. Misdemeanor offenses do not preclude gun ownership or possession. However, most misdemeanor convictions will result in denial of CPL privileges for up to eight (8) years.

The following is a list of common firearm crimes that we are seeing in Metro Detroit (counties of Wayne, Macomb, Oakland and St. Clair):

  • Carrying a concealed weapon
  • Assault with a dangerous weapon
  • Carrying a concealed weapon in a motor vehicle
  • Brandishing a firearm
  • Reckless discharge of a firearm

It is illegal to own or possess a firearm if you get any type of felony conviction. If you have a CPL and get a misdemeanor conviction, you face denial of your CPL privileges for several years.

Avoiding a felony record is the only way to retain your gun rights

In 2019, there were a total of 5,810 incidents of felony CCW reported in the State of Michigan and several thousands of other crimes related to firearms. Get a local criminal defense lawyer if you are charged with CCW or any other felony in any city or township in Macomb County, Oakland County or Wayne County.

Depending upon the prior criminal record of the offender and the circumstances of each case, there is a strong possibility of avoiding a felony conviction. Even those with a criminal record, can ask for a deviation to get a felony reduced to a misdemeanor.

In Macomb County, the prosecuting attorney’s office has a protocol in negotiating a felony charge to a misdemeanor or under a special provision of law which can result in a dismissal. The Macomb County Prosecuting Attorney has authority over felony matters in the following courts:

In Wayne County, the prosecuting attorney’s office has a specially assigned attorney known as a “diversion attorney”.  Diversion is a special status which can be assigned to a file that can result in NO entry of guilt and a complete dismissal at the end of a designated period of time. The file is essentially “diverted” from the criminal system.

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