How to Purchase a Pistol

As a non-CPL holder

You used to have to get a permit to purchase a pistol from your local police department in the city you live, but that has recently changed as of January 1st, 2013.  Now if you wish to buy a pistol from a dealer, you don’t have to obtain any purchaser’s permit from your local police department.  You still must fill out a federal background check as well as a pistol sales record.  The buyer and seller both fill this pistol purchase form as well as the pistol sales record.  Of the 4 copies of the pistol sales record, the seller keeps one, the buyer keeps one and the buyer turns the other two into their local law enforcement agency within 10 days of purchase.

Current CPL holders

You are exempted from having to obtain a permit to purchase when buying a handgun.  If a CPL holder wants to buy a pistol, he or she must give their Michigan CPL to the firearms dealer at the time of purchase.  The dealer will fill out the pistol sales record form.  The dealer will keep one copy of the pistol sales record, the buyer will keep one copy, and the buyer will turn in the other two remaining copies to their local police agency within 10 days of the date of purchase.  When buying from a private seller, you will both need to fill out a pistol sales record form and follow the same procedures as above.

Download Michigan Pistol Sales Record

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.