Gun Carry Laws: What Is the Difference Between a “CCW” and a “CPL” In Michigan?

Man with a variety of everyday carry (edc) items; a gun, notes, pocket knife, and flashlight - Concept for Gun Carry Laws.

The Second Amendment protects a person’s right to bear arms, and many Michigan residents proudly exercise these rights. They own guns for hunting, target shooting, and personal protection. But Michigan residents can run into trouble when they carry or transport their weapons illegally. As a Michigan gun owner, it is crucial that you understand the limitations Michigan has placed on gun ownership, where and how you can legally carry a firearm, and what to do if you are arrested on weapons charges. Failure to adhere to Michigan gun carry laws can result in serious consequences, including the possibility of hefty fines and significant time in prison.

Do I Need a License to Purchase a Gun?

In Michigan, you do not need a permit to purchase a rifle or shotgun. However, it is illegal to sell a rifle or shotgun to a minor (someone under the age of 18), or to someone who is a convicted felon or is under indictment.

If you are selling a handgun to an individual in a private sale, the buyer must first obtain a license from the local police or sheriff’s department. The buyer must be at least 18 years old, a U.S. citizen and a Michigan resident, and must not have been convicted of a felony or adjudicated insane. The License to Purchase must include a description of the handgun and signatures of both the buyer and the seller. Once the sale is complete, the buyer must return the license to a local law enforcement authority within 30 days.

If you are purchasing a pistol from a Federal Firearms Dealer, a License to Purchase is not required; however, the dealer must complete a Pistol Sales Record.

Understanding CPL vs. CCW

Michigan gun carry laws allows people to carry a concealed weapon if they have a Concealed Pistol License (CPL). To obtain a CPL, you must submit licensing paperwork, attend concealed carry classes, and submit an application and security clearance in the county where you live.

People who carry a concealed weapon without obtaining a CPL can be charged with “CCW,” which stands for Carrying a Concealed Weapon. This is the Michigan law that makes it illegal to carry a weapon in a concealed manner on your person or in your vehicle without first obtaining a CPL.

Violation of Michigan’s CCW statute is a felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and additional collateral consequences.

How to Obtain a Michigan Concealed Pistol License

If you wish to apply for a Michigan Concealed Pistol License, you need to complete a concealed pistol application kit and file the application with the county clerk in the county in which you reside. You must also

  • Include a certificate stating that you have completed the required safety training course.
  • If you do not have a digitized photograph on file with the Michigan Secretary of State, include a passport-quality photograph.
  • Pay the applicable fees, which include a $100 application and licensing fee payable to the county clerk.
  • Have your fingerprints taken.

What If I Am Charged with Carrying a Concealed Weapon?

If you do not have a CPL or carry your firearm in violation of Michigan concealed carry laws, you could be charged with CCW.

CCW is a serious crime that can lead to significant penalties, including hefty fines and the possibility of jail time. You should work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer to defend against Michigan CCW charges.

When you hire Elmen Legal to defend you against CCW charges, I will begin by analyzing your encounter with the police and whether they had a valid reason to stop you and perform a search in the first place. If the stop or search was illegal, I will file a Motion to Suppress evidence and seek to have the evidence excluded and dismissal of the case. If the search was valid, I will consider whether you had a valid CPL. Finally, I will analyze whether the gun was actually “concealed” as defined by statute and whether you had other valid reasons to carry a pistol.

Elmen Legal Defends Against CCW Charges in Michigan

If you are facing CCW charges in Michigan, Elmen Legal can help. I will carefully analyze your situation and develop a cohesive strategy to defend you against CCW charges. We will explore your options, and I will fight for a favorable resolution of the case.

Elmen Legal proudly represents people in Ann Arbor, Saline, Pittsfield Township, Chelsea, or Ypsilanti, in Washtenaw, Wayne, Monroe, Lenawee, Hillsdale, Jackson, Ingham, Livingston, and Oakland Counties.

I invite you to learn more about me and contact Elmen Legal today by calling (734) 707-8915 to schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your situation and how I can help.