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Michigan: Senate Passes Air Gun Reclassification Package

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Today, the Michigan Senate passed five bills that together have been referred to as the Air Gun Reclassification Package.  Senate Bills 963, 964, 965 & 966 all passed by a unanimous 38 – 0 vote.  Senate Bill 979, which protects air gun possession and use from overzealous local regulation, passed by a 28-10 vote.  This important legislative package seeks to achieve pragmatic and much-needed reform by redefining the term “firearm” in the Michigan Code to exclude devices that propel a projectile by gas, spring or air.  The goal of this package is to relieve Michiganders, and those seeking to engage in interstate commerce with Michigan residents, from outdated and unduly burdensome restraints on the transfer, purchase and possession of most air guns.

Under current law, a vast majority of air guns—including all pellet guns and air soft guns—qualify as firearms.  As a result, the same restrictions that apply to the transfer, purchase and possession of firearms also are imposed on air guns; including licensing and registration.  Michigan is one of only fourstates that classifies most air guns as firearms.

The Air Gun Reclassification Package, which includes Senate Bills 963, 964, 965, 966 & 979 and House Bills 5450, 5749 & 5750, would align Michigan’s definition of “firearm” with the federal definition; such that “firearm” would be redefined to mean “any weapon which will, is designed to, or may be readily converted to expel a projectile by action of an explosive.”  Senate Bill 979 would then create a new definition for air guns.  Grouping air guns under the broader term “pneumatic guns,” to account for certain devices that propel projectiles by action of a spring, SB 979 would allow for cities and charter townships to reasonably regulate the use and possession of “pneumatic guns;” with the exception that these devices cannot be regulated on private property where authorization is given and the possessor takes precautionary measures to ensure that the projectile remains within the bounds of the property.

Please contact your state Senator and thank him or her for supporting this important package of bills.

These bills have been sent to the state House of Representatives and will be assigned to the House Judiciary Committee.  Please contact members of the House Judiciary Committee and respectfully ask them to support the Air Gun Reclassification Package.

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