Firearms Sound Suppressors in Michigan
As many of you are probably aware, late last week, the Attorney General of Michigan, Bill Schuette, issued an opinion on silencers in Michigan.
Michigan – -(Ammoland.com)- – Opinion Number 7260 (available here: www.ag.state.mi.us/opinion/datafiles/2010s/op10339.htm) says, in summary:
“The possession, manufacture, or sale of a firearm silencer is permitted in Michigan under MCL 750.224(1)(b) if the person is licensed or approved to possess, manufacture, or sell such a device by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, as required by MCL 750.224(3)(c). Possession, manufacture, or sale of a firearm silencer by an unlicensed or unapproved person is a felony, punishable by up to five years imprisonment under MCL 750.224(2).”
This means that Michigan residents may now follow the procedures under the National Firearms Act of 1934 (26 US Code, Chapter 23) as administered by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (www.atf.gov.)
As a former US Army Infantry Sergeant and civilian volunteer trainer of Army Squad Designated Marksmen, I am aware that there is an ongoing discussion among experts regarding what the appropriate term is for a device that reduces the sound signature of a firearm. It must be noted that Michigan statutes use the terms “silencer” or “muffler,” rather than the more precise term “suppressor.”
“…(4) As used in this chapter, “muffler” or “silencer” means 1 or more of the following:
(a) A device for muffling, silencing, or deadening the report of a firearm.
(b) A combination of parts, designed or redesigned, and intended for use in assembling or fabricating a muffler or silencer.
(c) A part, designed or redesigned, and intended only for use in assembling or fabricating a muffler or silencer.”
Note that there have been no changes to Michigan statute. A Michigan Attorney General's Opinion clarifies existing law. Essentially, General Schuette and his staff analyzed the relevant statutory law and determined that when it refers to “license,” it means the permission of the ATF as required under the National Firearms Act, in much the same way that former Attorney General Cox did with regard to machine guns.
The vast majority of other states have allowed silencers for quite some time. With this opinion, we join the ranks of civilized states that allow citizens to quiet the dangerous and annoying sound signature of firearms. Far from being the instruments of crime they are portrayed as in popular entertainment, suppressors are protective devices meant to preserve human hearing and cut down on nuisance issues between neighbors.
MCRGO has been at the forefront of this issue for quite some time. We have been educating the general public, legislators, and their staff members about silencers for years, including via an article in a past issue of On Target that I authored.
In the coming weeks, we will feature more in-depth information on this subject including how to actually purchase your suppressors (silencers.) MCRGO volunteers are working diligently to be able to provide accurate, detailed information as Michigan takes one more step toward true firearms freedom.
Steve Dulan (www.StevenWDulan.com) is a member of the Board of Directors of the MCRGO and the MCRGO Foundation, and a member of the Board of Trustees of the MCRGO Foundation. He is an attorney in private practice in East Lansing and Adjunct Professor of firearms law at The Thomas M. Cooley Law School. as well as an NRA Life Member.
The Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners is a non-profit, non-partisan organization. Formed from just eight people in 1996, we now have thousands of members and numerous affiliated clubs across the state. We're growing larger and more effective every day.
Our mission statement is: “Promoting safe use and ownership of firearms through education, litigation, and legislation” Visit: www.mcrgo.org