Once Michigan gun rights are restored, why can’t I purchase a gun? There are two bodies of government, State and Federal laws. Both bodies of government pass laws that prohibit a convicted felon from possessing a gun. Michigan’s laws are far more forgiving than the Federal government’s laws. Michigan has automatic restoration of gun rights, in other words, a Michigan residence cannot be prosecuted under the felon in possession of a firearm statute, MCL 750.224f. Because the federal laws are more strict, a person may be prosecuted under federal law, 18 U.S. Code § 922(g)(1).
Automatic restoration of gun rights under Michigan law does not restore gun rights according to the federal government. Automatic restoration does permit a Michigan resident to possess and hunt in Michigan with an “antique firearm” under federal law. Visit the ATF website to determine which firearms may be used to hunt in the woods.
Most retail firearms stores are Federal-Firearm License holders. This means they perform background checks before there is a gun purchase. ATF form 4473 must be completed for a firearm transaction. The dealer will check NCIS for prior felony convictions, which will still show a felony on the applicant’s record.
In the past, the path for a Michigan resident with a felony conviction to walk into an FFL dealer and purchase a gun was to expunge the felony under state law. I can no longer say this with a good conscience. In 2021, reports are coming in around the state from people with expunged felony convictions being blocked from purchasing a firearm. The best course for a convicted felony is to simultaneously remove their firearm disability under MCL 28.424 and expunge the conviction under MCL 780.621.
“I can’t purchase a gun.” In Michigan, you need to remove the felony conviction through expungement, MCL 780.621 and petition the court for to restore gun rights in Michigan.
Please visit my gun rights restoration blog here.
Please visit my remove a criminal conviction blog here.