FIREARMS AND SELF-DEFENSE LAW

30Mr. Finley has been teaching the legal portion of the NRA Personal Protection in the Home Course, a/k/a, CPL (concealed pistol license) class since 2009.  Under Michigan law only a licensed attorney in good standing with the State Bar of Michigan or a police officer who has completed special training called P.O.S.T. may teach the course.

Mr. Finley volunteers his time teaching the CPL class offered at the Chelsea Rod & Gun Club, Chelsea, MI.  He teaches the key provisions of State and federal law pertaining to the purchase, possession, and transportation of firearms, as well as the lawful use deadly force in a self-defense encounter.

Michigan is a “shall issue” state, meaning that if a person has successfully completed the CPL course and is otherwise not prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm under State or federal law then the local gun board “shall issue” the requested CPL.

Michigan law also follows the “Castle Doctrine”, meaning that if you are lawfully in a place where you are entitled to be and are presented with the unlawful threat of deadly force against you, then you may “stand your ground”, as opposed to “a duty to retreat”, by employing deadly force against your attacker to “stop the threat”.

“Deadly force” is the threat of death or serious bodily harm, and therefore can include the imminent threat of rape.  Your actions will be judge under the objective “reasonable man” standard.  Taking into account all the objective factors of your circumstances, including who started the fight, and the ability of your attacker to carry out the threat, if the reasonably objective person would have done the same thing you did under the circumstances then you will avail yourself of lawful use of deadly force in a defensive encounter.

Generally, you have a right, but not necessarily a duty, to come to the aide of another who is under the imminent threat of unlawful deadly force.  Your actions will be judged the same as if you yourself were attacked.

Michigan is also an “open carry” state, meaning that if your pistol is holstered in plain view and you are not otherwise in a pistol free zone that your carry is lawful and not considered “brandishing”.  However, once you put on a jacket or enter into an automobile you are considered “concealed” and must have a valid CPL to lawfully carry.

CPL holders presently enjoy the right to carry in State and federal parks, except for the welcome center of a federal park as it is considered a federal facility and therefore a pistol free zone under federal law.

CPL holders may also carry in most banks, credit unions and other private financial institutions, as long as it is not otherwise posted as a pistol free zone.

Pistol free zones include a school, on school property, day care center, child placement agency, sports arena, stadium, bar or tavern license to serve liquor, church, synagogue, mosque, temple or other place of worship, entertainment facility sitting more than 2500 people, hospital, dormitory or classroom of a college or university or casino or as otherwise prohibited by law.    However, “open carry” by a non-CPL holder is not permitted in a financial institution.  “Premises” of the pistol free zones does not include the parking areas, except for casinos and a college or university campus.

Although local governments and municipalities cannot expand the pistol free zone, e.g., by declaring municipal offices or public libraries pistol free zones, a private business owner may declare their establishment a pistol free zone but must post notice.  Nevertheless, courtrooms, offices and other spaces used for official court business or by judicial employees, e.g., offices of the Friend of the Court, are pistol free zones by Order of the Michigan Supreme Court.

To schedule an appointment to discuss your rights as a CPL holder, gun owner, or denial of your CPL application by your local gun board, please call (734) 475-4659.

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The foregoing is general information only and does not constitute legal advice regarding your specific legal matter nor does it create an attorney-client relationship regarding your matter.