Providing False Information to Obtain a Pistol License is Illegal
Using false information to obtain a license to purchase a pistol can be a felony or misdemeanor offense. An aggressive, experienced, and successful criminal defense attorney is the best defense against a firearms charge.
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 they have probable cause to believe that the applicant would be a threat to themselves or other individuals or would commit an offense that would violate Michigan or Federal law. Several conditions would qualify as a reason to deny a license; however, unless the police authority has a valid, affirmative, demonstrable reason to reject one, the police authority shall issue a license. Providing false information to obtain a pistol license is a felony and can result in a stiff sentence and various collateral consequences.
The reasons for someone being denied a license are rooted in logic and common sense. Examples of reasons why someone might be denied a license include (1) anyone who has been adjudged mentally ill, (2) is the subject of a personal protection order, or (3) is a convicted felon who is a danger to himself or others. Convicted felons may be issued a license if three (3) years have passed since their last obligation to the state has been completed (payment of fines and costs, and completion of all conditions of parole or probation) or five (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. The Michigan State Police will deny an application for a pistol license if it contains false information.
A person must be 18 years old to buy a pistol from a private seller and 21 years old to buy a pistol from a registered dealer. A person must also be a resident of Michigan and prove it with a driver’s license or a state identification card or be registered to vote in Michigan. Someone completing an application for a pistol license must avoid using false information.
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 the prosecution of anyone who intentionally provides false information on an application to obtain a license to purchase a pistol. If someone knowingly makes a false statement in their application, that action constitutes a felony punishable by four (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 making false statements in an application because it is assumed that the applicant deliberately is hiding that they are not eligible to purchase a pistol. In other words, they are legally barred from buying a pistol. Lying on a formal state application is a deliberate attempt by a non-eligible person to obtain a pistol. That, 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, a felony, even though using incorrect information was accidental or unintentional. A great defense lawyer can help the prosecutor and judge see that a mistake was made and the error was not intentional.
How are purchase pistol license requirements justified under the Second Amendment?
The scope and interpretation of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which states, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed,” has been a long-debated topic. Michigan takes a position that including the phrase “well regulated” suggests that certain regulations, such as licensing, align with the Second Amendment’s intent. In District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court ruled that while the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to own a firearm for lawful purposes like self-defense, it doesn’t rule out all gun regulations. Justice Antonin Scalia noted that the right isn’t unlimited. Many believe that regulations ensure public safety by providing that only individuals without a criminal record or history of domestic violence or severe mental illness can purchase firearms. This also helps prevent straw purchases, where someone buys a firearm for another person who is legally barred from doing so. Historically, there’s precedent for firearm regulations from the early days of the U.S., suggesting that they might align with the Amendment’s original intent. As with the First Amendment’s freedom of speech, which doesn’t permit harmful actions like incitement or libel, the right to bear arms can be subject to certain restrictions for public safety.
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, including charges for using false information to obtain a pistol license. 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 for a free consultation. We will take the time to speak with you, answer your questions, and work with you to develop a winning strategy. We will find a way to help you!
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete an online Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.