Can I Own a Gun After a Domestic Violence Charge in Michigan?

As a Michigan Domestic Violence Lawyer, I often receive many questions about the affect a Domestic Violence charge will have on the right to possess a firearm. I concentrate my criminal defense practice on defending those charged with Domestic Violence in Michigan. Please note that Domestic Violence is also called Domestic Assault - either way, it's the same 93 day misdemeanor crime under MCL 750.81(2). I use the terms interchangeably. As a matter of Federal Law, if you are convicted of Domestic Violence / Domestic Assault in Michigan or elsewhere, your right to have a pistol, handgun, or ANY other type of firearm is only minimally restricted. But under Michigan Law, it is a different story.

Under the United States Code, 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(9) (called the Lautenberg Amendment), if you have been "convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of Domestic Violence," it is unlawful for you "to ship or transport in interstate or foreign commerce, or possess in or affecting commerce, any firearm or ammunition; or to receive any firearm or ammunition which has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce." However, in a case called U.S. v. Wegrzyn, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals held that as long as you are no longer incarcerated for the Domestic Violence conviction, you are no longer "convicted," because, while your voting rights are stripped during the incarceration under MCL 168.758b, this is a civil right that is "restored" as soon as your incarceration has ended. See 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(33)(B)(ii) ("while confined").

Under the Michigan Concealed Pistol Licensing Act, MCL 28.425b(7)(h), you cannot apply for a Concealed Pistol License for eight (8) years after you have been convicted of Domestic Violence (Domestic Assault) under MCL 750.81(2) or Aggravated Domestic Violence (Aggravated Domestic Assault) under MCL 750.81a(2). Incidentally, this is also true for regular Assault and Assault and Battery under MCL 750.81 and Aggravated Assault under MCL 750.81a.

Additionally, if you are facing a Domestic Violence charge, a Court Order is entered at your Arraignment called a Bond. This Court Order may, in the Judge's "broad discretion," prohibit you from purchasing, carrying, transporting, carrying concealed, or possessing any firearm or ammunition, or limit it to certain times, places, or types of firearms. This is also true for your Order of Probation if you plead Guilty or No Contest, or are found Guilty after Trial of the Michigan Domestic Violence charge.

Even if your Bond and/or your Order of Probation are silent on the issue of firearms, if these Orders contain terms that you have No Contact with the alleged victim (they always do), then you are subject to the same Federal restrictions as in 18 U.S.C. 922(g), above. This is another reason to have a skilled Michigan Domestic Assault Lawyer get the No Contact provision removed, as there is a 10 year Federal Prison maximum for violating this Federal Law! For any time that you are subject to a Bond that specifically prohibits you from purchasing or possessing a firearm, you are also automatically disqualified from obtaining a Michigan Concealed Pistol License (CPL), regardless of whether or not you had notice of the Hearing at which the Order was issued. Upon entry of the Order into the LEIN system that disqualifies you from obtaining a CPL. If you already have one, you will receive a Notice from the Michigan Department of State Police that it is suspended.

If you would beineligible to obtain a Michigan Concealed Pistol License (CPL) for any of the above reasons, you will also receive notice that any existing CPL is REVOKED, and you can no longer carry a concealed pistol or else face a 5 year, $2,500.00 Felony CCW charge. If you are charged with that Felony, the firearm(s) involved will be seized and may be forfeited.

The sanctions are even tougher if you are convicted of a Felony Domestic Violence . . .

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