See our Carrying Concealed Weapons policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.
Michigan generally prohibits any person from carrying a handgun concealed on or about his or her person without a concealed handgun license, other than at his or her own residence, on his or her own land, or at his or her place of business.
Michigan is a “shall” issue state, meaning that licensing authorities must issue a concealed handgun license if the applicant meets certain qualifications. Previously, concealed handgun licenses were issued by each county’s “concealed weapon licensing boards” (CWLB). However, in 2015 Michigan passed a law to eliminate these licensing boards effective December 1, 2015, and to instead entrust county clerks with the authority to issue concealed handgun licenses on that date..
Until December 1, 2015, Michigan has required county sheriffs to conduct a background check through the state law enforcement information network and report his or her finding to the CWLB. If the applicant resided in a city, village, or township that has a police department, the CWLB was required to contact that department to determine if it has any information relevant to the applicant’s eligibility under state law to receive a license to carry a concealed handgun.
Beginning December 1, 2015, however, Michigan law will instead require the Department of State Police to conduct this background investigation through both the state law enforcement information network and the FBI’s NICS database. The Department of State Police will be required to report to the county clerk about any statutory disqualifications that apply to the applicant.
The county clerk shall issue a concealed handgun license if the applicant:
- Is 21 years of age or older;
- Is a citizen of the United States or an alien lawfully admitted into the United States;
- Is a resident of Michigan, and has resided in Michigan for at least six months;
- Has completed a handgun safety training course certified by the state of Michigan or a national or state firearms training organization (see the Firearm Safety Training subsection, below);
- Is not the subject of specified court orders;
- Is not prohibited from possessing, using, transporting, selling, purchasing, carrying, shipping, receiving or distributing a firearm under Michigan law;
- Has never been convicted of a felony, and a felony charge is not pending against the applicant;
- Has not been dishonorably discharged from the United States Armed Forces;
- Has not been convicted of a misdemeanor violation in the last eight years relating to specified crimes, including but not limited to: serious vehicle offenses; displaying sexually explicit materials to minors; assault or domestic assault; fourth degree child abuse; accosting, enticing, or soliciting a child for immoral purposes; vulnerable adult abuse; solicitation to commit a felony; certain weapons crimes; or stalking;
- Has not been convicted of any of a list of other specified misdemeanors in the last three years;
- Has not been found “guilty but mentally ill” of any crime and has not offered a plea of not guilty of, or been acquitted of, any crime by reason of insanity;
- Has never been subject to an order of involuntary commitment in an inpatient or outpatient setting due to mental illness;
- Does not have a diagnosed mental illness that includes an assessment that the individual presents a danger to himself or herself or to another at the time the application is made, regardless of whether he or she is receiving treatment for that illness;
- Is not under a court order of legal incapacity; and
- Has has a valid state-issued driver license or personal identification card.
In addition, Michigan county clerks or issuing agencies are prohibited from issuing a concealed handgun license to an applicant unless:
- The department of state police or the relevant county sheriff has determined through a federal NICS check that the applicant is not prohibited under federal law from possessing or transporting a firearm; and
- If the applicant is not a US citizen, the department of state police has verified through United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement databases that the applicant is not an “illegal alien” or “nonimmigrant alien.”
Firearm Safety Training
Michigan requires that any applicant for a concealed handgun license, prior to issuance of the license, complete a handgun safety training course certified by the state of Michigan or a national or state firearms training organization. Effective December 1, 2015, an applicant will be considered to have satisfied this requirement if he or she has passed an approved handgun safety training course within 5 years preceding the date of his or her application and all the other required conditions are met.
The safety training course must include at least eight hours of instruction, including five hours of instruction in:
- The safe storage, use, and handling of a handgun including, but not limited to, safe storage, use, and handling to protect child safety;
- Ammunition knowledge, and the fundamentals of handgun shooting;
- Handgun shooting positions;
- Firearms and the law, including civil liability issues and the use of deadly force. This portion must be taught by an attorney or an individual trained in the use of deadly force;
- Avoiding criminal attack and controlling a violent confrontation; and
- All laws that apply to carrying a concealed handgun in Michigan.
The course also must include at least three hours of instruction on a firing range, firing at least 30 rounds of ammunition.
The program must provide a certificate of completion that states the program complies with the requirements of state law and that the individual successfully completed the course, signed by the course instructor. The instructor also must be certified by Michigan or a state or national organization to teach the safety training course.
Duration & Renewal
A license to carry a concealed handgun is valid until the licensee’s date of birth that falls not less than four nor more than five years after the license is issued. A license may be renewed in generally the same manner required to obtain the original license, except that the safety training education requirements are waived if the applicant certifies that he or she has completed at least three hours of review of the required training and has had at least one hour of firing range time in the six months immediately preceding the renewal application.
Disclosure or Use of Information
Michigan requires the Department of State Police to maintain a computerized database of individuals who apply for a concealed handgun license. The database may only contain the following information as to each individual:
- The individual’s name, date of birth, address, county of residence, and state-issued driver license or personal identification card number;
- If the individual is licensed to carry a concealed handgun in Michigan, the license number and date of expiration;
- If the individual was denied a license to carry a concealed handgun after July 1, 2001 or issued a notice of statutory disqualification, a statement of the reasons for that denial or notice of statutory disqualification;
- A statement of all criminal charges pending and criminal convictions obtained against the individual during the license period;
- A statement of all determinations of responsibility for civil infractions pending or obtained against the individual during the license period; and
- The status of the individual’s application or license.
Information in the database may only be accessed and disclosed according to an access protocol that includes the following requirements:
- That the requestor of the firearms records uses the law enforcement information network or another system that maintains a record of the requestor’s identity, time, and date that the request was made; and
- Requires the requestor in an intentional query by name of the firearms records to attest that the firearms records were sought under one of the specified lawful purposes.
The county clerk must retain a copy of each concealed handgun license application as an official record until one year after the expiration of the license, at which time the county clerk may destroy the record (but shall maintain a name index of the record in the database).
A concealed handgun license issued to a resident of another state is recognized in Michigan.