Do You Have to Register a Handgun in Michigan?

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You want to be a responsible gun owner and model of an outstanding citizen. However, it’s hard to keep up with gun laws as they’re updated from time to time. One question that Michigan gun owners keep asking is do you have to register a handgun in Michigan?

Do You Have to Register a Handgun in Michigan?

Since January 7, 2009, the State of Michigan no longer requires gun owners to have their firearms safety inspected. However, you have to register a handgun sale with local law enforcement. Gun sellers oftentimes do this themselves so you won’t have to worry about it if you’re the one buying.

A row of handguns placed on a table

Under Michigan Firearms Law, “a person shall not purchase, carry, possess, or transport a pistol in Michigan without first having obtained a License to Purchase and registering the pistol.” Regardless of the acquisition of the pistol whether it be through purchase, gift or inheritance, you still need a License to Purchase.

However, you don’t need a License to Purchase if you qualify in one of the following:

That being said, if you have a valid Michigan Concealed Pistol License, you must still complete a Pistol Sales Record in order to register the pistol. You also need to always have your copy of License to Purchase or Pistol Sales Record when you’re carrying, using, possessing, and transporting your pistol for 30 days after they acquired the pistol.

Qualifications to Legally Own and Use a Firearm in Michigan

There are certain criteria you need to meet if you want to legally own a handgun or firearm in Michigan. These are:

  • You must be at least 21 years of age, or you must be at least 18 years of age if you are purchasing the firearm from a relative.
  • If you have ever been convicted of a Felony, you will not be eligible.
  • If you have any criminal cases pending against you or old cases without a court disposition, you will not be eligible.
  • If you have any court orders that state you may not purchase or own a firearm, you will not be eligible.
  • You must present valid picture identification showing your current address. Remember they don’t accept any expired identifications. 
A handgun,  bullets, watch and a bag are placed on a wooden table

Steps to Get a License to Purchase in Michigan

These are the steps you need to do in order to legally own a handgun in Michigan.

  • In order to buy a handgun, you must go to your local police department and acquire a purchase permit if you’re buying from a private seller. If you’re buying from a dealer, you can ignore this step and go directly to the dealer.
  • Prepare a valid picture ID that you will present to the local police department. Make sure it hasn’t expired and that contains your current address.
  • You’ll need to fill out a general questionnaire and to take a short quiz about handgun rules and safety.
  • The local police department will check to verify if you really are eligible for owning a handgun and meet all the qualifications. This might take days.
  • Once you’re approved, you will be issued with your License to Purchase. This document consists of 3 parts forms. One section for your own records, one section for the seller’s record, and one section for the State of Michigan. The License to Purchase is valid for 30 days.
  • Once you have bought your handgun, you need to return the State of Michigan copy to the local police department.

Does Michigan Have a Gun Registry?

Michigan has no system of registration. However, retail firearms sellers need to keep a register of all firearms sales, and they also need to report any handgun sales to law enforcement.

Some local towns like Livingston County require that you return the Michigan State Police copy of your purchase permit to the local Sheriff’s office and they will record your information and register your firearm with the State of Michigan.

A person holding a handgun

Is It Illegal to Own an Unregistered Handgun in Michigan?

You must legally register any handguns if you want to own them. If you got it from someone you know, the best thing you can do is have it registered through a private seller.

Get a License to Purchase from your local police department. List the person who gave you the handgun as the seller and you as the buyer. You can then mail the required copies to your local police department.

The information is then entered into their database. Most of the time they don’t research whether or not the handgun was registered before. They will, however, check if the handgun is stolen or not. The most important concern for the state is that it gets registered.

Gun Laws in Michigan

Law Handguns Long Guns
State permit requirement for purchase Yes No
Firearm registration Yes No
Assault weapon law No No
Magazine capacity restriction No No
Owner license No No
Concealed carry permit Yes N/A
Open carry permit No No
Castle Doctrine Yes Yes

Related Questions

Is It Illegal to Own an Unregistered Handgun in Michigan?

Yes, it is illegal to own an unregistered handgun in Michigan. You need to own a License to Purchase and register the handgun.

Can a Non Resident Carry a Gun in Michigan?

Non-residents can carry a gun in Michigan if they have a valid concealed carry license from their home state.

What Is the Penalty for Not Registering a Handgun in Michigan?

The penalty for not registering a handgun in Michigan is charged with a misdemeanor with imprisonment for not more than 90 days or a fine of not more than $100 or both.


Gun laws in Michigan gives a lot of freedom to their citizens. While they offer a bit of freedom for long guns, it isn’t the same case for handguns. You’ll go over through getting a purchase permit, background checks, and firearm registration before you can buy a handgun.

James Forrester is a lifelong gun and firearms owner, and an even bigger advocate for gun safety. He created with the purpose of sharing helpful tips and educating others on how to keep guns and weapons safe and secure.