Mich Ag An Ok Guy
Posted 10 January 2006 - 07:15 AM
Subject: In case you were thinking about buying..........
Machine Guns Can Now Be Purchased In Michigan
State Attorney General Mike Cox ruled that possession of machine guns manufactured
prior to 1986 is legal for those who follow procedures.
A Macomb County man asked for the attorney general to overrule a 1977 opinion issued by former
Attorney General Frank Kelly that limited ownership of machine guns to relics and antiques.
News Copyright 2006 Metro Networks Communications Inc., A Westwood One Company
For those of you who know Frank Kelley (old MI AG) had an opinion (not a ruling) that paraphrased MI gun laws to read as he pleased. In summary he noted that you needed a license to own NFA guns in MI. And - this is where he paraphrases - since MICHIGAN doesn't offer a license, you can't have possession in MI.
Of course this is bull. The law he paraphrases says you cannot own NFA in MI without a FEDERAL license, he conveniently left out the Federal part. Of course we know it is legal to own in MI with a C&R (or C2 and C3, I believe), but all of the MSP and local law enforcement have heard of this opinion and actively think it is the law.
I wrote Mike Cox last year when I was trying to resolve this. His respopnse was that as State AG he could not work for me, only someone from the State gov't could get his opinions. But - he stated there is no other recognized opinion out there on this subject. I guess someone finally got him to issue his own opinion!
Good news! Now if we only can replace Jenny G , maybe PhilOhio and others won't be so down on coming to MI to shoot now!
Posted 10 January 2006 - 01:12 PM
Posted 10 January 2006 - 05:00 PM
Heard about this last week, as stated great news. I will not have to focus on C&R anymore.
I was waiting to get the exact wording from Cox before I jump the gun. (No pun intended.)
If you come across the specific wording would you please post it here.
Posted 10 January 2006 - 05:26 PM
MIKE COX, ATTORNEY GENERAL
MICHIGAN PENAL CODE:
Possession and transfer of a machine gun
A person in Michigan may only possess a machine gun if it was lawfully possessed before May 19, 1986, and is properly registered under federal law. A person in Michigan may only transfer possession of a machine gun if authorized to do so by the federal Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Opinion No. 7183
December 27, 2005
Honorable Leon Drolet
Lansing, Michigan 48909
You have asked whether a person in Michigan may transfer possession of a federally registered machine gun.
Possession of a machine gun by a person in Michigan is controlled by section 224 of the Michigan Penal Code, MCL 750.224:
(1) A person shall not manufacture, sell, offer for sale, or possess any of the following:
(a) A machine gun or firearm that shoots or is designed to shoot automatically more than 1 shot without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.
* * *
(3) Subsection (1) does not apply to any of the following:
(a) A self-defense spray device as defined in section 224d.
( A person manufacturing firearms, explosives, or munitions of war by virtue of a contract with a department of the government of the United States.
© A person licensed by the secretary of the treasury of the United States or the secretary's delegate[] to manufacture, sell, or possess a machine gun, or a device, weapon, cartridge, container, or contrivance described in subsection (1). [Emphasis added.]
Of greatest relevance to your question is the exception stated in subsection 3© above. Michigan law, therefore, prohibits the possession of a machine gun by a person unless that person has been "licensed" by the United States Government to manufacture, sell, or possess the weapon.
To determine how one becomes "licensed" by the federal government, the governing provision is subsection (o) of section 922 of the federal Firearms Owners' Protection Act of 1986 (FOPA), 18 USC 922(o). That subsection states in relevant part:
(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), it shall be unlawful for any person to transfer or possess a machinegun.
(2) This subsection does not apply with respect to--
* * *
( any lawful transfer or lawful possession of a machinegun that was lawfully possessed before the date this subsection takes effect [effective May 19, 1986]. [18 USC 922(o)(1) and (2)(.]
After enactment of the FOPA, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives promulgated implementing regulations permitting private ownership of a machine gun under specified circumstances. One of those regulations, 27 CFR 479.105, provides:
(a) General. As provided by 26 U.S.C. 5812 and 26 U.S.C. 5822, an application to make or transfer a firearm shall be denied if the making, transfer, receipt, or possession of the firearm would place the maker or transferee in violation of
law. . . .
( Machine guns lawfully possessed prior to May 19, 1986. A machine gun possessed in compliance with the provisions of this part prior to May 19, 1986, may continue to be lawfully possessed by the person to whom the machine gun is registered and may, upon compliance with the provisions of this part, be lawfully transferred to and possessed by the transferee.
Thus, under federal law, a person may possess a machine gun if that person lawfully possessed it before May 19, 1986, or if the person is one to whom a person in lawful possession lawfully transferred possession after that date. Another regulation, 27 CFR 479.84, generally prohibits the transfer of a firearm "unless an application, Form 4 (Firearms), Application for Transfer and Registration of Firearm, in duplicate, executed under the penalties of perjury to transfer the firearm and register it to the transferee has been filed with and approved by the Director [of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives]." The regulation further requires that the application provide a complete description of the firearm and detailed identification of both parties to the transfer. Under the current Form 4 (copy attached), the transferee is required to certify whether the transferee has been convicted of or is facing criminal felony charges, whether the transferee is a fugitive, illegal alien, addicted to controlled substances, subject to a domestic relations restraining order, has received a military dishonorable discharge, has been adjudicated mentally defective, or has been convicted of domestic violence. An affirmative answer to any of these questions results in a denial of the application. Another regulation, 27 CFR 479.85, requires that the application include the transferee's photograph and set of fingerprints. The application must also be certified by the appropriate state or local law enforcement official as to whether the official has any information indicating that the machine gun will be used for other than a lawful purpose or that possession of the gun by the transferee would be in violation of state or federal law. 27 CFR 479.85. The Form 4 application is then reviewed by the Director and, if approved, is returned to the transferor who may then transfer the weapon. The transferee is required to retain the approved Form 4 application as proof that the firearm is properly registered. 27 CFR 479.86.
In light of this federal regulatory background, it must next be determined whether this federal approval process culminates in the issuance of a "license" for purposes of the exception to the prohibition on the possession of a machine gun found in MCL 750.224.
The foremost rule in construing a statute is to discern and give effect to the intent of the Legislature. Nastal v Henderson & Associates Investigations, Inc, 471 Mich 712, 720; 691 NW2d 1 (2005). The first step in ascertaining that intent is to review the language of the statute. The plain meaning of the critical word itself as well as its placement and purpose in the statutory scheme must be considered. Sun Valley Foods Co v Ward, 460 Mich 230, 236-237; 596 NW2d 119 (1999).
The concept of licensure was discussed in Bostrom v Jennings, 326 Mich 146, 167; 40 NW2d 97 (1949) (Boyles, J. concurring):
[A] license means "to confer on a person the right to do something which otherwise he would not have the right to do." 33 Am Jur, "Licenses," § 2, p 325.
"The object of a license is to confer a right that does not exist without a license." Chilvers v. People, 11 Mich 43, 49.
"The popular understanding of the word license undoubtedly is, a permission to do something which without the license would not be allowable. . . ." Youngblood v. Sexton, 32 Mich 406, 419 (20 Am Rep 654).
The general understanding of a license is stated in Webster's New International Dictionary (2d ed), p 1425, as follows:
"License, license, n * * * Authority or liberty given to do or forebear any act; permission to do something.
Although the application and registration scheme provided for under the federal laws and regulations discussed above do not result in the issuance of a document labeled "license," the Form 4 application and resulting approval process bears all the hallmarks of licensure. The permission granted by the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to transfer and possess a machine gun is the official authority required in order to avoid the federal proscription. Absent such approval, a person possessing a machine gun would be subject to serious sanctions, including prosecution and incarceration under both federal and state law. See 18 USC 924 and MCL 750.224(2).
Moreover, there is no indication in the plain text of MCL 750.224 that the Legislature intended the word "license" to have a meaning other than its ordinary meaning as described by the Court in Bostrom. Its purpose in the statutory scheme appears to be to assure that only those persons receiving the proper authorization from the appropriate federal officials are allowed to manufacture, sell, or possess a machine gun. The statute does not focus on the particular title or name given to that authorizing instrument. Accordingly, the authorization provided under the federal regulatory scheme embodied in 18 USC 922(o) and related regulations constitutes a "license" within the meaning of MCL 750.224.
It is my opinion, therefore, that a person in Michigan may only possess a machine gun if it was lawfully possessed before May 19, 1986, and is properly registered under federal law. A person in Michigan may only transfer possession of a machine gun if authorized to do so by the federal Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
NOTE: OAG No. 5210 has been superseded by this opinion.
 Because your request only concerns private individuals, this opinion does not address any other classes of persons, such as law enforcement officers and military personnel.
 The historical responsibility of the Secretary of Treasury of the United States to regulate firearms through the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was transferred by Congress to the United States Attorney General by Public Law No 107-296, Title XI, Subtitle B, § 1112(f)(4), (6), 116 Stat 2276 (2002).
 Compare 18 USC 923 (providing for the licensure of manufacturers, importers, dealers, and collectors).
 OAG, 1977-1978, No 5210, p 189 (August 10, 1977), reached the opposite conclusion on this question. However, at the time that opinion was issued, MCL 750.224 allowed a person to possess a machine gun if the person was "duly licensed to manufacture, sell, or possess any machine gun." As that opinion noted, when MCL 750.224 was amended in 1959, the Legislature considered a companion bill to license the possession of machine guns. The opinion concluded that the failure to enact the bill was evidence that no law existed to allow for the possession of a machine gun. The opinion further noted that then existing federal law only provided for the registration and not the licensing of machine guns. As discussed above, Congress subsequently enacted legislation authorizing the Director of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to formally approve the possession of certain machine guns. Moreover, soon after the issuance of OAG No 5210, the Legislature amended MCL 750.224 by 1978 PA 564 to specifically recognize an exception for a license issued by the United States Government. The Attorney General was also quick to recognize that with the amendment, the machine gun prohibition in MCL 750.224 did not apply to a person duly licensed by the Secretary of Treasury of the United States or the Secretary's delegate to possess a machine gun. Letter opinion of the Attorney General to Phillip Price, Chief, National Firearms Act Branch, United States Department of Treasury, dated April 25, 1979. Accordingly, OAG No 5210 is superseded by this opinion.
State of Michigan, Department of Attorney General
Last Updated 01/10/2006 16:24:19
Posted 10 February 2006 - 09:53 PM
Posted 10 February 2006 - 10:02 PM
|QUOTE (doubletap @ Feb 10 2006, 09:53 PM)|
| Somebody help me out here, do I need an FFL, C&R or can I just pay the transfer tax and be done with it.|
You need a C&R FFL(C&R is a type FFL). Easy to get. Well worth the $30 fee for 3 year license.
Posted 11 February 2006 - 07:08 AM
On the issue of MG ownership in MI how does that work with the no SBR guns in MI? Or is that a non issue with a legaly owned MG? I currently have a 27a1 on a green card because with the pk 28 stock conversion it was 29 5/8" instead of 30" with the stock off.
Posted 11 February 2006 - 08:17 AM
Clarification is being pursued for suppressor transfers.
Posted 11 February 2006 - 05:12 PM