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Open Carry in Michigan Without a CPL

Open Carry w/out a CPL:

A person without a CPL may legally open carry a pistol as long as they are 18 years of age and have lawfully purchased the pistol in accordance with MCL 28.422. Without a CPL you may NOT carry a firearm that belongs to someone other than yourself.

MCL 28.422 (1) states:

“Except as otherwise provided in this act, a person shall not purchase, carry, possess, or transport a pistol in this state without first having obtained a license for the pistol as prescribed in this section.

This means, a person may not purchase, carry, possess, or transport a pistol without first obtaining a license. This license is known by it's proper name "License to Purchase a Pistol", it's nickname "Purchase Permit", or it's form number "RI-010". 

However, MCL 28.422a lists exemptions for CPL holders and anyone purchasing from a federally licensed firearms dealer, among others. This means that these people do NOT need to get the above license. For more information on purchasing, check out our FAQ.


Prohibited Zones with no CPL

There are many places you should be aware of where someone without a CPL may NOT possess a firearm, which includes open carry. The following is the list of prohibited places which is located in MCL 750.234d:

(1) Except as provided in subsection (2), a person shall not possess a firearm on the premises of any of the following:

(a) A depository financial institution or a subsidiary or affiliate of a depository financial institution.
(b) A church or other house of religious worship.
(c) A court.
(d) A theatre
(e) A sports arena.
(f) A day care center.
(g) A hospital.
(h) An establishment licensed under the Michigan liquor control act, Act No. 8 of the Public Acts of the Extra Session of 1933, being sections 436.1 to 436.58 of the Michigan Compiled Laws.

It is very important that you pay attention to and understand what (h) in the above list is referring to. The key phrase here is licensed. It does not matter if alcohol is actually sold on the premises. You can find out what businesses in your county are licensed by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission by going to the following website.

Schools are also included in MCL 750.237a.

(4) Except as provided in subsection (5), an individual who possesses a weapon in a weapon free school zone is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by 1 or more of the following:


(6) As used in this section:

(e) "Weapon free school zone" means school property and a vehicle used by a school to transport students to or from school property.

Both statutes contain exemptions for CPL holders and people with permission, among others, in MCL 750.234d (2) and 750.237a (5) respectively.

If you do not have a CPL and you receive permission from the owner or agent of the owner (manager/supervisor) that you are allowed to carry while visiting their establishment, then you would not be in violation of the above laws and you may lawfully open carry at that establishment. We suggest that the permission be obtained in written form just in case someone forgets or changes their mind.

If a location that you are visiting is not listed or does not fall within the above law then you may lawfully open carry there regardless if you possess a CPL or not.


Transportation without a CPL:

In addition to knowing where you can and cannot go you will also need to know how to get there and back. The following will review how to transport a firearm without a CPL.

A person without a CPL is prohibited under MCL 750.227 (2) from possessing a pistol in the passenger compartment of a vehicle:

"(2) A person shall not carry a pistol concealed on or about his or her person, or, whether concealed or otherwise, in a vehicle operated or occupied by the person, except in his or her dwelling house, place of business, or on other land possessed by the person, without a license to carry the pistol as provided by law and if licensed, shall not carry the pistol in a place or manner inconsistent with any restrictions upon such license."

What that means is that you cannot carry a pistol in your vehicle in Michigan without a CPL. Even if your pistol is not concealed, it still falls under the "otherwise" clause in the statute upon entering a vehicle.

There is an exception for transporting a firearm, however you need to be very diligent in making sure you are complying with all aspects of the law as it is very easy to slip and face felony charges for carrying a concealed weapon. Below will describe how you can transport your firearm safely and lawfully for open carry if you do not have a CPL.

MCL 750.231a details how someone may lawfully transport a firearm:

(1) Subsection (2) of section 227 does not apply to any of the following:

(d) To a person while transporting a pistol for a lawful purpose that is licensed by the owner or occupant of the motor vehicle in compliance with section 2 of 1927 PA 372, MCL 28.422, and the pistol is unloaded in a closed case designed for the storage of firearms in the trunk of the vehicle.

(e) To a person while transporting a pistol for a lawful purpose that is licensed by the owner or occupant of the motor vehicle in compliance with section 2 of 1927 PA 372, MCL 28.422, and the pistol is unloaded in a closed case designed for the storage of firearms in a vehicle that does not have a trunk and is not readily accessible to the occupants of the vehicle.

To transport your pistol you are required to have the pistol unloaded, enclosed in a case that is designed for the storage of firearms, and the encased pistol has to be in the trunk of the vehicle, or if there is no trunk, it must not be readily accessible to the people in the vehicle.

Unloaded means no ammunition may be in the firearm itself. A detachable magazine does not have to be unloaded as long as it has been separated from the firearm. A loaded magazine may be placed in the same container as the firearm as long as the magazine is not inserted into the firearm while you are transporting.

To ready your firearm for transportation here are the steps to follow:

  1. Walk to the back of the vehicle with your firearms case.
  2. With both case and firearm completely outside of the vehicle find a spot to place your firearms case.
  3. Unholster your pistol and remove the magazine and any rounds that might be chambered.
  4. If you prefer you may place the round that was once chambered back into the magazine.
  5. Place both the completely unloaded pistol and the magazine in your firearms case.
  6. Place the firearm which is now located in your firearms case in the trunk of the vehicle and close the trunk.

You are ready to transport.

If you do NOT have a trunk place the encased and completely unloaded firearm at what is preferably the furthest most point in your vehicle where you or someone else will not be able to easily access it.

When you arrive at the destination where you can lawfully open carry you will need to retrieve your firearm from the trunk for the vehicle, or if there is no trunk from the location you placed the encased firearm. To retrieve your firearm follow the above steps in the reverse order:

  1. Open the trunk (or locate your encased firearm).
  2. Take the encased firearm and yourself completely outside of the vehicle, to include the trunk space.
  3. Open the case.
  4. Load your firearm.
  5. Holster.
  6. Place the now empty container back into your trunk or vehicle if you have no trunk.

Go about your business and open carry.



When handling your firearm at your trunk please remember all safe firearm handling practices to avoid any unwanted accidents. The firearm is required to be handled out of necessity due to the current laws. Only handle your firearm when necessary and always be safe.

MCL 28.422
MCL 28.422a
MCL 750.227
MCL 750.231a
MCL 750.234d
MCL 750.237a

Also see Michigan State Police Update #86 for more information.


Last Reviewed: January 2017