Using false information to obtain a license to purchase a pistol can be a felony or misdemeanor offense. The best defense to a firearms charge is an aggressive, experienced and successful criminal defense attorney.
What Are the Rules for Obtaining a Pistol License?
In Michigan, a person wishing to purchase, carry, possess, or transport a pistol must first apply for and obtain a license for that pistol. The chief of police or the sheriff with policing authority over the residence of the applicant shall issue a pistol license with “due speed and diligence” unless he or she has probable cause to believe that the applicant would be a threat to himself or herself or to other individuals or would commit an offense that would violate Michigan or Federal law. There are a number of conditions that would qualify as a reason to deny a license, but essentially, unless the police authority has a valid, affirmative, demonstrable reason to deny one, the police authority shall issue a license.
The reasons for someone being denied a license are rooted in logic and common sense. For example, anyone who has been adjudged mentally ill, or is the subject of a personal protection order, or is a convicted felon who is a danger to himself or others, may be denied a license. Convicted felons may be issued a license if 3 years have passed since his last obligation to the state has been completed (payment of fines and costs, and completion of all conditions of parole or probation) or 5 years if the crime they were convicted of was a “specified offense” (threatening use of force, unlawful possession or distribution of firearms, manufacturing or delivery of controlled substances, use of explosives, burglary of an occupied dwelling, or arson). Convicted felons must first petition for and be granted an “Order for Restoration of Rights” from the circuit court of the county in which they reside.
A person must be 18 years old to buy a pistol from a private seller, and must be 21 years old to by a pistol from a registered dealer. A person must also be a resident of Michigan and able to prove it with a driver’s license or a state identification card or be registered to vote in Michigan.
Misdemeanor and Felony Violations of the Firearm’s Licensing Law
Sometimes, a person may be accused of trying to get around the licensing rules if they are disqualified from getting a license legally as explained above. Michigan permits prosecution of anyone who intentionally provides false information on an application to obtain a license to purchase a pistol. If someone intentionally makes a factually false statement in his or her application, that action constitutes a felony punishable by 4 years in prison and a $2,000.00 fine or both. If someone uses or attempts to use false identification or someone else’s identification to purchase a firearm, such action constitutes a misdemeanor punishable by 90 days in jail or a fine of $100.00 or both.
Why is the Penalty So Much Larger for Making a False Statement Than for Using False Identification?
The law penalizes people more harshly who make false statements in an application because it is assumed that the applicant deliberately is hiding the fact that they are not eligible to purchase a pistol. In other words, they are legally barred from purchasing a pistol. Lying on an application on a formal state application is a deliberate attempt by a non-eligible person to obtain a pistol, and that, at least in theory, is a higher level of criminal activity. The latter is similar to committing perjury, hence, the more serious penalty. In some cases, a defendant may be charged with lying, the felony, even though the use of incorrect information was accidental or inadvertent. A great defense lawyer can help the prosecutor and judge see that a mistake was made and the error was not intentional.
Misdemeanor and Felony Firearms Defense Attorneys
The dedicated, experienced and zealous defense attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have successfully represented thousands of clients on felony and misdemeanor charges in Michigan. We have successfully represented countless clients in felony and misdemeanor firearms charges. Our defense attorneys have a well-earned reputation for providing the highest possible quality advice and defense. Call us today at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will contact you promptly.
“We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!“
– LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C.