LANSING — State Representative Jim Townsend (D-Royal Oak) introduced legislation today requiring universal background checks for all firearms purchased in Michigan. Under current law, background checks aren’t required for the private sale of long firearms, despite a 2013 poll showing 86 percent of Michiganders support universal background checks.

“We’ve passed numerous bills to loosen and update Michigan’s gun laws since 2011, but have failed to pass a single law that would help curb gun violence,” Townsend said. “This bill simply ensures everyone purchasing a firearm has been cleared by a background check. Keeping firearms out of the hands of people who are not legally able to buy them is common sense and will help protect us all.”

Under current law, anyone purchasing a pistol must undergo a background check by obtaining a license to purchase, unless:

  • The purchaser has a concealed pistol license (CPL). CPL holders have a background check conducted at least every 5 years when renewing their license.
  • The purchaser is a federally licensed firearms dealer.
  • The purchaser is buying from a federally licensed firearms dealer that conducts a FBI background check in compliance with 19 USC 922(t).

Townsend’s legislation simply extends this requirement to all firearm purchases.

“This bill would not impact anyone’s legal ability to purchase firearms,” Townsend said. “It simply ensures that those who aren’t able to legally obtain firearms through licensed dealers can’t utilize this loophole to get their hands on a gun. This isn’t about reducing guns. It’s about safety, common sense, and making sure that we are doing what we can to prevent needless tragedies.”