In Michigan, Air Guns Are No Longer ‘Firearms’

Law Shield would like to report a positive development in Michigan — as of July 1, 2015, air guns are no longer considered to be firearms in the state.

Previously, Michigan was one of just four states that classified most air guns as firearms, making them more difficult to purchase or move between states.

This means transactions for air pistols can take place directly between the seller and purchaser, without going through an FFL. According to the Michigan Airgun Alliance, Gamo USA, Midway, Pyramid, and other makers are all ready to ship pistols, silencers, rifles, and other sections of their inventory.

The more relaxed rules are part of the Air Gun Reclassification Package, which was signed into law in May by Gov. Rick Snyder.

The Air Gun Reclassification Package is a group of bills, consisting of House Bills 4151, 4152, 4153, 4154, 4155, 4156 and Senate Bill 85, which make changes to Michigan’s definition of a firearm to exclude devices that propel a projectile by air, gas or spring. Previously, most air guns were classified as firearms, and, as such, were subject to the same onerous regulations for their purchase, possession and transfer, as firearms.

SB 85 aligns Michigan’s definition of “firearm” with the federal definition; such that “firearm” would be redefined to mean “any weapon which will, is designed to, or may be readily converted to expel a projectile by action of an explosive.”

SB 85 then creates a new definition for air guns. Grouping air guns under the broader term “pneumatic guns,” to account for certain devices that propel projectiles by action of air, gas or spring, SB 85 allows for certain local units of government to reasonably regulate the use and possession of “pneumatic guns,” with the exception that these devices cannot be regulated on private property where authorization is given and the possessor takes precautionary measures to ensure that the projectile remains within the bounds of the property.

Also, some air guns will remain subject to Michigan’s casing requirements for travel:

Any air gun that is being transported in a motor vehicle by a person not in possession of a CPL, and which is designed to shoot metallic BBs or pellets greater than .177 caliber, will need to be:

1) taken down;

2) enclosed in a case;

3) carried in the trunk of the vehicle; or

4) inaccessible from the interior of the vehicle.

There’s one big caveat Law Shield would advise our members on, however; For purposes of Michigan’s Weapons Free School Zone Act, air guns are still considered to be “weapons,” and, therefore, will likely still be subject to the same restrictions that apply to firearms in school zones.

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