Buying Ammo and Guns in Michigan

DISCLAIMER: It is your full responsibility to make sure the firearm, ammunition, or accessories you are purchasing is legal for you to own in your state or jurisdiction. The information contained throughout this web site, including the firearm and ammunition state guide provided below, is not legal advice and should not be construed as legal advice.

This piece discusses the ammunition and firearms laws that apply in the state of Michigan. To do so, we start with the MI ammo laws, focusing on the process of having ammunition legally shipped to a residential address in the state. Then, the piece covers the firearms laws both in terms of purchasing and carrying guns in Michigan. To wrap things up, the piece ends with some resources that we think will be useful to folks who want to legally purchase, own, and carry firearms and ammo in Michigan.

We do not intend anything in this piece to be legal advice. Instead, we hope that it is a good basis of knowledge and resources that you can then use to make your own, informed,  decisions.

Michigan, like many other states, has preemption. This means that the state legislature forbids localities such as cities, counties, and townships, from making firearms laws that are more restrictive than those at the state level. Preemption makes life a little easier for gun owners in Michigan, as it means that once you understand the state laws, that understanding can guide your actions in the entire state.

Overall, Michigan ranks somewhere in the middle in terms of the permissiveness of firearms laws. Getting ammunition in the state is not overly difficult, and it is possible for most people to conceal or openly carry a firearm, but the concealed permitting process is a little onerous: further, the state requires a permit to purchase a handgun. These elements make the state more restrictive.

Ammo Laws/Buying Ammo in Michigan 

Next, we will cover the ammo laws of the state.

Michigan bans armor-piercing ammunition for both handguns and long guns. Aside from that ban, state law in Michigan does not have much to say about ammunition, thus buying ammo in the state follows Federal guidelines.

The ATF sets forth two sets of requirements for people who would like to purchase ammunition. The first is an age requirement: buyers have to be eighteen years of age or older to purchase ammunition for long guns such as rifles or shotguns, and twenty-one or older to buy handgun ammunition. Second, prohibited persons cannot buy ammunition. The ATF defines prohibited persons as people who have been convicted of felonies or domestic violence, people who have been ruled mentally unfit in a court, or folks who have involuntarily been committed to a mental health institution. 

Assuming that the buyer is qualified to buy the ammunition, it is legal to have ammo shipped to a residential address in Michigan. Some carriers might impose additional rules, such as asking for an adult with a valid ID to be present to sign for a package that contains ammunition. 

Gun Laws/Buying Guns in Michigan 

Next, we will do the same analysis for MI’s gun laws.

At the time of this writing, Michigan’s gun laws are fairly permissive in terms of purchasing. There is currently no assault weapons ban on the books, nor are there any blanket bans on whole categories of items such as NFA items. 

Things might change in the future, however. For example, a law was recently signed at the state level that will bar people who have been convicted of several misdemeanors surrounding domestic assault, such as stalking, assault, and several kinds of abuse, from owning guns even after their sentences are complete. While this law in and of itself might not restrict many people, it might well be a testing of the political waters in the swing states (states where it is entirely possible for both Republicans and Democrats to win state offices like the governorship) in terms of the public’s general appetite for firearms regulations in the future.

Right now, one of the larger restrictions on gun purchases in the state is the requirement that anyone who wishes to purchase a handgun has to have a Handgun Purchase Permit. This permit is handled in-person at local police offices, and information on the form itself online is sparse. Both FFLs and private sellers are required to see the aforementioned permit and to submit a Pistol Sales Record to the state after the sale.  The legislation cited does seem to allow for people who have the state’s concealed carry permit to skip the Handgun Purchase Permit, as, practically, the Purchase Permit process is baked into the concealed carry permitting process.

Aside from the Handgun Purchasing Permit, Michigan follows federal guidelines in terms of gun purchases. That means that the buyer should bring a form of ID, a form of payment, and, if buying a handgun, the relevant permit to the gun store. There, the FFL will have the buyer fill out Form 4473 for the background check. As soon as both the background check and payment are clear, the buyer can go home with their new firearms on the same day.

Michigan law does not prohibit open carry, but lawyers in the state advise that should a person choose to openly carry, the firearm cannot be concealed by, for instance, a jacket. Also, pistols should be registered to the person carrying them to not run afoul of the laws that set up the Handgun Purchase Permit.

Michigan also allows for concealed carry by statute. Getting the permit is a little tricky, in that it requires a person to have been a resident of the state for six months, have taken a training class, and the person can still be denied a permit for many, many reasons including failing to stop during a traffic accident or indecent exposure (which could be something as benign as urinating in the woods on public land).  There is also a $100 fee. It is one of the more strict concealed carry permits in shall-issue states. The permit is one of the more widely recognized permits in other states, which might be some consolation given the somewhat lengthy process of acquiring said permit.

Like most other states, Michigan maintains a list of places where firearms are entirely forbidden, with or without a permit, including:

  • K-12 schools (excluding in cars while dropping off or picking up)

  • Day cares

  • Sports arenas 

  • Taverns

  • Places of worship unless the presiding official allows 

  • Large entertainment venues

  • Colleges and universities, Including dorms

  • Casinos and their parking lots

Lists such as this one are not unusual and are common even to the most permissive states.

Historically, Michigan has contributed massively to American defense. For example, during the Second World War, many of the guns, tanks, jeeps, and planes that would make up not only the American war effort but our contributions to allies under the Lend-Lease Act were made in Michigan.  For one of many examples, some M1 Carbines (the most-produced American small arm of WWII) were made in Michigan.

While buying and carrying a handgun in Michigan is a bit of a process, Michigan’s other firearms and ammo laws are on the permissive side. This places Michigan somewhere in the middle in terms of its permissiveness, though with the state’s politics, that could well change in the future. In what direction that will change, remains to be seen. 

Sales Tax on Guns/Ammo in Michigan

Michigan has a general sales tax of 6%, which does not vary across the state. Additionally, the state does not impose any special taxes on firearms or ammunition. 

More Resources:

  • The ATF maintains a list of every FFL in the country, including in Michigan. This list is kept up to date and can be used to find gun stores, which are usually Type One or Two FFLs. 

  • has an excellent tool that can be used to find ranges in every state. Use the city, zip code, and mileage filters to find ranges convenient to you. Users can add more ranges as well, and the information is routinely fact-checked.

  • There are a number of well-rated gun stores in the state. 

  • The Michigan Gun Owners Forum is active and is a good spot to go for relevant news and events. This is especially true given the evolving political landscape in the state.

MI Gun Law FAQ:

Yes, as long as you are 21 to meet federal guidelines. Aside from that, Michigan requires a permit to purchase a pistol, even if buying from a private seller.

Yes, Michigan allows for concealed carry but has a somewhat lengthy permitting process which includes a form, fees, and a mandatory class.

Michigan bans armor-piercing ammo. But, aside from that ban, it is legal to have ammunition shipped to homes in the state as long as the buyer meets federal requirements.

It is, but if you plan to openly carry a handgun, it is wise to have that gun registered to you through Michigan’s Pistol Permitting system.

Yes and no: while there are no major bans on, for example, assault rifles or magazines, the state’s handgun buying process is fairly strict.