Michigan, perhaps the state hit hardest by the economic downturn, has actually experienced a drastic decrease in violent crimes. In 1990, Michigan had over 74,000 violent crimes and over 1,000 murders occur annually. Two decades later, those numbers have been cut by nearly 40% and 50% respectively-50,000 violent crimes in 2009 and 542 murders.
With a significant increase in unemployment, foreclosures, and poverty, one would expect a similar spike in violence. This has yet to occur in Michigan however, and can be attributed to the state's tough stance on ownership and carrying of firearms. Michigan gun laws revolve around "common sense" issues-meaning strict requirements for a gun license and permit.
Because the state is a popular grounds for hunting, the Michigan law on guns is very lax in regards to rifles and shotguns. A permit is not required to purchase or carry such firearms, and there is no gun license or registration required as well. Handguns are an entirely different issue, as Michigan has taken a serious stance on pistols and purchasing requirements. According to Michigan gun laws, a permit is required to both purchase and carry handguns.
In order for an individual to purchase a handgun from a dealer or private seller, the buyer must obtain a gun license from his/her local police department. Requirements for the buyer include: Must be at least 18 years of age, resident of Michigan, clean criminal background, mentally stable, and score at least a 70 percent on a safety exam. Within 10 days of delivery, the firearm (unloaded) and gun license must be brought to the local police authorities so a safety inspection certificate can be drawn up. Copies of the gun license will be recorded and held by the authorities for up to 6 years.
According to Michigan gun laws, possession of a handgun also requires strict guidelines to be followed. If an individual is in possession of a handgun, he must immediately bring it to the local police authorities where it will be inspected and recorded thoroughly. During this process, thumbprints of the owner will also be taken so the firearm will be linked to that individual.
Carrying a handgun in the state is perhaps the most complex subtopic of Michigan gun laws. A state license is not required for carrying a handgun in the following instances: If the gun is being transported in the trunk of a car, if the gun is being carried in one's home, or if it is considered to be an antique.
Michigan gun laws require that handguns must be empty or in a case if transported. All other instances in regards to carrying require a gun license. In order for a license to carry to be obtained, one must fill an application under oath in front of a county clerk. Fingerprints are also required and administered by the local sheriff. The license to carry is valid for three years and is issued within 30 days of the application.
Michigan gun laws are also strict on gun dealerships and distributors. Given its location Michigan is susceptible to the creation of illegal gun markets and trafficking. Although a state license is not required for Michigan dealers, thorough records must be kept and delivered routinely to the state. Police enforcement is also warranted under law, and inspections are made annually. Michigan gun laws fail in regards to bulk purchases, restrictions on ammunition, child safety precautions on firearms, and the sale of assault rifles.
Michigan gun laws are efficient and effective because of the role law enforcement and the government plays. There is no disconnect between dealers, authorities, and the state's government. Some say government intervention is unconstitutional in regards to the right to bear arms, but the numbers don't lie.