Michigan’s CPL application process being modified

Each county in Michigan has a gun board which uses its discretion to determine if Concealed Pistol License (CPL) applicants meet the qualifications to obtain or renew their license. Each gun board has a representative from the County Prosecutor’s Office, the County Sheriff’s Department, and the Michigan State Police (MSP). Until December 1, 2015 it is at the discretion of each county gun board to determine if an applicant is fit to obtain or renew a CPL. While each gun board has the authority to request applicants to appear before it, Macomb County is the only county in the state to require all new applicants to appear before its gun board.

On December 1, 2015, however, this present system will change.

Under legislation signed by Gov. Rick Snyder in March (Public Act 3 of 2015), county gun boards in the state of Michigan will cease to exist after November 30, 2015. Instead, local control will shift to the state. The County Clerk’s Office will still process and distribute licenses, but the MSP will determine whether or not an applicant is fit to hold a CPL. According to the new law, the MSP will verify the requirements an individual must meet in order to obtain a CPL by using the law enforcement information network and the national instant criminal background check system. Should the MSP find that an individual is not qualified to have a CPL, that information will be relayed to the County Clerk’s Office.

According to Gov. Rick Snyder, these changes will allow for a more unified process that will “better support the rights of firearm owners.” Opponents, however, have criticized the change because of the loss of local control over the process. To read more on this issue, click here.

While any person is able to apply for a CPL the state has the right to deny such requests for a variety of reasons. This process, which will be slightly modified beginning Dec. 1, 2015, is intended to protect the public and prevent potential misuse of a firearm.

The map below shows the percent of CPL applications denied by each county in the Southeastern Michigan region in 2013. As shown, Wayne County had the highest denial rate at 4.5 percent while St. Clair County had the lowest denial rate at .8 percent.

To obtain a CPL in the state of Michigan there is a list of requirements that must first be met. These requirements, according to the state of Michigan, include:

  • Being at least 21 years of age;
  • Michigan residency for at least 6 months prior to application;
  • Successful completion of a pistol safety training course;
  • No felony convictions;
  • No convictions of specific misdemeanors (including domestic violence);
  • No personal protection orders filed against the applicant;
  • No diagnosed mental illnesses at the time of the application

For a complete list of requirements, visit this site.

CPL Licenses Denied

As seen above, in 2013, Wayne County had the highest CPL denial rate in the region at 4.5 percent while St. Clair County had the lowest denial rate at .8 percent. While there is no specific reason given for Wayne County’s rate of CPL denials, we do know that in 2012 Wayne County had the highest probation, incarceration, and prison rates in the seven-county region. A person will be denied a CPL if they have a felony or certain misdemeanors.


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