March 15, 2023 – In Michigan, the Democrat-controlled Legislature is set to pass a series of firearm related bills aimed at imposing additional restrictions on law-abiding firearm owners. Multiple Bills were recently introduced to the Senate, and a vote is imminent. If passed, these Bills would impose sweeping changes to firearm laws in Michigan, including expanding background check requirements, imposing firearm storage requirements, and enacting so-called “red flag” laws. The proposed legislation would also repeal state-level immunity for firearm dealers from civil liability for claims arising from the misuse of lawfully sold firearms.

Senate Bill 76 would expand the criminal background check requirement to all transfers, including transfers between private individuals. The Bill also requires all persons who own a firearm to register it with the State, including firearms inherited from a family member. Senate Bill 79 would require firearms to be stored in a locked box or container, or kept unloaded with a locking device engaged, if a minor is, or is likely to be, present at the premises. The Bill makes it a felony to violate the storage requirement. In an effort to reduce the financial burden created by the storage requirement, the Bill would remove the sales and use tax on firearm safety devices. Senate Bill 79 also seeks to repeal MCL § 28.435(15)(7), which provides state-level immunity from civil liability for licensed firearm dealers arising from the misuse of lawfully sold firearms. Although licensed firearm dealers may still claim federal immunity under the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 7901-03, the proposed legislation would remove the additional level of state protection from liability.   

Senate Bill 83, entitled the “Extreme Risk Protection Order Act,” would impose a so-called “red flag” law in Michigan. Under this provision, family members, friends, spouses, domestic partners, and law enforcement officers would be authorized to petition the court to temporarily seize firearms from persons who allegedly may use them to harm themselves or others. “Red flag” laws are often criticized for their potential to violate a person’s due process rights, in addition to the right to keep and bear arms. 

In addition, the Michigan House of Representative recently passed House Bill 4138, which, like Senate Bill 76, would expand background checks to all firearm purchases and would require registration of all firearms in the State.

Apparently motivated by recent shootings involving the misuse of firearms in Michigan, it is clear that both chambers of the Michigan legislature are intent to impose additional firearm restrictions in the state, and to limit protections from liability afforded to dealers who lawfully sell firearms. Given Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s outspoken call to pass new firearm restrictions, it is likely that some or all of the proposed legislation will be enacted.

Renzulli Law Firm, LLP will continue to monitor new and developing firearms legislation and regulation around the country.  If you have any questions concerning firearms related legislation or regulation, please contact John F. Renzulli or Christopher Renzulli.