How to Purchase a Pistol in Michigan

From a Federally-Licensed Firearms Dealer (FFL)

Purchasing a Pistol or Rifle from a Federally-Licensed Dealer

The process is the same for both CPL holders and non-CPL holders.

Contrary to private sale requirements, a person wishing to purchase a pistol from a licensed dealer is NOT required to obtain a permit to purchase beforehand.

A NICS background check is performed on all firearm sales at the time of purchase (FFL Dealer may elect to use a valid Michigan License to Purchase a Pistol (LTP, received from your local police department) in lieu of NICS background check)

Buyer Must:

  • Be 21 or older to purchase a pistol
  • Be 18 or older to purchase a long gun
  • Reside in Michigan
  • Be eligible to own a firearm


The Process:

  1. Find the firearm you want
  2. FFL dealer will have you fill out form 4473
  3. The dealer will call the NICS hotline and read your information to the FBI
  4. After the FBI has completed the background check, they will tell the dealer you’re approved or denied
  5. If approved, and the firearm is a pistol, both buyer and seller fill out the form RI-060 Michigan Pistol Registration form
    1. Buyer keeps one copy
    2. Seller keeps one copy
    3. Buyer returns MSP copy to local police department within 10 days of purchase
  6. Buyer pays the dealer and sale is complete

From a Private Seller

Purchaser must be over 18 to buy a handgun or rifle from a private seller in Michigan, and over 21 to buy a handgun from a federally-licensed firearm dealer (FFL).

Purchasing a pistol with a CPL

Your current Michigan Concealed Pistol License acts as a purchase permit.  Because you’ve already gone through a thorough background check , a purchase permit is not required when buying a pistol from a private seller.

Buyer Must:

  • Be age 21 or older
  • Have a valid Michigan Concealed Pistol License
  • Be a resident of Michigan
  • Eligible to own firearms


The Process:

  1. Make a deal on price
  2. Print out form RI-060 or get a paper copy of the form at your local police department
  3. The RI-060 is filled out in triplicate by the buyer and seller
    1. Seller keeps one copy
    2. Buyer keeps one copy
    3. Buyer returns MSP copy to local police department within 10 days
  4. Transaction is complete

Purchasing a rifle, shotgun (long gun)

This process is the same for both CPL holders and non-CPL licensee’s.  There is no background check required for the private party purchase of a long gun in the state of Michigan.  The buyer simply pays the seller and takes possession of the firearm.  It is good practice for the seller to record the sale (including buyer’s driver’s license information) in case that firearm is ever used in a crime.

Buyers must be residents of Michigan and seller must believe the buyer is eligible to own a rifle.  If buyer makes statements or the seller otherwise knows the buyer is barred from firearm ownership, it is illegal to sell the long gun to the buyer.

Purchasing a Pistol when Buyer Does Not Have a CPL

Michigan requires the buyer of all sales and/or transfers of pistols to undergo a background check.  If you don’t have your Michigan CPL, you must get a permit to purchase from your local police department prior to taking possession of the pistol.

Buyers Must:

  • Be age 18 or older
  • Have a valid purchase permit (form RI-010)
  • Be eligible to own a firearm
  • Be a resident of Michigan


The Process:

  1. Go to your local police department and request a purchaser’s permit form RI-010
  2. You will take a short test, and the local police department will run your background
  3. Once your eligibility to own a pistol is verified, the police will issue you a permit to purchase a pistol
  4. This permit is valid for 30 days
  5. When you find the pistol you would like to buy, both the buyer and the seller will fill out the forms on the purchase permit
    1. Buyer keeps one
    2. Seller keeps one
    3. Buyer returns the MSP copy to the local police department within 10 days


Michigan Laws Regarding Purchase of Pistols

In Michigan, a person “shall not purchase, carry, or transport a pistol in this state without first having obtained a license for the pistol,” as prescribed in MCL 28.422. These licenses shall be obtained by the local police agency. If the city, township, or village does not have an organized police agency, the license shall be obtained by the county sheriff department.
There is an exception for a person licensed in Michigan to carry a concealed pistol. He or she must obtain a Pistol Sales Record (RI-060) any time he or she purchases or otherwise acquires a pistol, pursuant to MCL 28.422a.


The police authority will check for any criminal record at both the state and national level.


An applicant must comply with all state and federal laws prior to the issuance of the license. The following are state and federal laws that prohibit an individual from receiving a license:


Michigan – MCL 28.422


  • Probable cause to believe that the applicant would be a threat to himself or herself or to other individuals, or would commit an offense with the pistol that would violate a law of this or another state of the United States.
  • The person is not subject to an order or disposition for which he or she has received notice and an opportunity for a hearing, and which was entered into the Law Enforcement Information Network pursuant to any of the following:
    • MCL 330.1464a – Involuntary hospitalization or alternative treatment program
    • MCL 700.444a – Legally incapacitated (now MCL 700.5107)
    • MCL 600.2950 – Personal Protection Order
    • The Personal Protection Order must be active. Inactive PPOs will stay on file for five years for historical purposes.
    • MCL 600.2950a – Stalking
    • MCL 552.14 – Restraining Order
    • MCL 765.6b – Release subject to protective conditions
    • MCL 769.16b – Not guilty by reason of insanity
    • Under 18
    • Not a U.S. citizen or resident alien and a resident of Michigan
    • Prohibited from possessing, using, transporting, etc. under MCL 750.224f
    • Adjudged insane in this state or elsewhere, unless restored to sanity by court order
    • Under an order of involuntary commitment in an inpatient or outpatient setting due to mental illness
    • Adjudged legally incapacitated
    • Unable to correctly answer 70% of the questions on the basic pistol safety questionnaire.
    • Federal – 18 USC §922(g) & (n)
    • Under indictment for or have been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year
    • Fugitive of justice
    • Unlawful user of, or addicted to, any controlled substance (convicted, of possession within last year, multiple arrests for possession within the past five years if most recent arrest occurred within the past year, or positive drug test within last year)
    • Adjudicated as mental defective or been committed to any mental institution
    • Alien and is illegally or unlawfully in the U.S. (alien without permanent residence status)
    • Dishonorably discharged from the military
    • Formally renounced U.S. citizenship
    • Subject to a court order prohibiting harassing, stalking, or threatening of an intimate partner or child of such intimate partner or from engaging in other conduct that would place the partner or child in reasonable fear of bodily injury
    • Convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence (does not have to be classified as a “domestic crime”)
    • Under indictment for a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year


If the purchaser is not a U.S. Citizen, an Immigrant-Alien Query (IAQ) check must be conducted through NLETS. An agency MUST wait for a response before proceeding. This could take up to three days.


If the reply to the NICS check reveals no state or federal prohibitors, the license process may proceed. The applicant must answer gun related questions on a Basic Pistol Safety Questionnaire, with at least 70% correct, and swear before a notary that they meet the statutory requirements to own a pistol.


The License to Purchase a Pistol form must be completed even though the applicant may already have possession of a pistol, such as through an inheritance. Federal firearms licensed dealers are not exempt from this section of the law and must also get a license any time they purchase/acquire a pistol from an individual or another gun dealer. There is an exemption only for dealers purchasing pistols directly from the manufacturer or wholesaler.


If the law enforcement agency determines that the applicant is prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm, an NICS Guide for Appealing a Firearm Transfer DENIAL pamphlet, with the NICS Transaction Number (NTN) written on the cover is provided to the applicant.


A License to Purchase a Pistol is valid for 10 days to purchase a pistol. The seller must sign the license and keep one copy for his/her records. An individual must keep a copy and return two copies to the local police department within 10 days of purchasing the pistol.


Some agencies require all unused license to purchase forms be returned to them for record keeping purposes.


These forms are licenses to purchase a pistol and the purpose is not to circumvent the required NICS (National Instant Check System) check when buying a shotgun or rifle from an FFL dealer.