Crawford Co Sheriff's Office

Basic Pistol Safety Pamphlet

June 1991

Basic Pistol Safety Review Board


1990 P.A. 320; MCL 28.429a, 28.429b, 28.429c

This pamphlet is required by law and pursuant to the law, contains basic pistol safety information. It is strongly recommended that people obtaining pistols seek out firearms safety courses in their community.

The statutory requirements appearing in this pamphlet pertain to Michigan residents only. Additional restrictions on possessing and transporting pistols in Michigan apply to non residents.

Firearms ownership carries with it a responsibility of safeguarding the welfare of others and yourself when handling firearms. Accident prevention is the user's responsibility. It is the responsibility of a pistol owner to know what the law is pertaining to ownership, possession , transportation and use of pistols.

It is advisable to have a serious discussion with family members concerning a pistol and stressing the danger of careless or unsafe use.

A basic rule in pistol safety is to never assume that a pistol is unloaded. You should treat every pistol as if it were loaded.

A pistol should always be unloaded when not in use and the ammunition stored separately from the pistol. It is generally recommended that the cylinder assembly of a revolver and the barrel assembly of a semi automatic be removed from the frame for long term storage. Both the ammunition and the firearm should be stored in a safe place out of the reach of children. 

The improper storage of a pistol at home could result in the arming of a criminal breaking into the home or the injury or death of a child who discovers the pistol and plays with it. 

Discharging a pistol at a range without proper ear and eye protection could result in permanent damage to those senses.

For the safety of yourself and others, be sure the barrel is clear of any obstructions before shooting. Obstructions such as snow, dirt, excess grease or lubricating oil in the bore may cause increased pressures which could damage the pistol and cause injury.

On a semi automatic pistol, you should keep the safety on and / or action open unless firing.

Never put your finger on the trigger until ready to fire at a proper target. A proper target is knowing what is beyond the target and in the line of fire.

You should always keep the barrel pointed in a safe direction, even when dry firing, loading or unloading. In the event of an accidental discharge, no injury can occur if the barrel is pointed in a safe direction

Dropping a loaded pistol may cause an accidental discharge, even with the safety on.

Bullets can glance off many surfaces like rocks, the surface of water and other flat surfaces. Glancing bullets travel in unpredictable directions with considerable velocity capable of causing injury or death.

When purchasing a pistol, the buyer must first obtain a License To Purchase a pistol. This license is obtainable from the local police agency.

It is illegal to loan a pistol to another person, unless that person obtains a License To Purchase a pistol. The law considers the private loan of a pistol as a sale.

The law requires that when presenting a pistol to police for a safety inspection it is unloaded and encased or equipped with a trigger locking mechanism.

A License to Carry Concealed Pistols is generally required for transporting a pistol, loaded or unloaded, in a motor vehicle.

Without a Concealed Pistols License you are limited to transporting a pistol unloaded, in a wrapper or container, in the trunk of a vehicle only in the following circumstances:

  1. en route to or from a hunting or target shooting area, provided you are in possession of a valid Michigan hunting license or membership in a organization that has target shooting range facilities.
  2. transporting from the place of purchase, to your home, or place of business, or place of repair.
  3. in moving goods from one place of abode or business to another place of abode or business.
  4. to your local police agency, within 10 days of purchase, to obtain a Safety Inspection Certificate (registration)

If the vehicle doesn't have a trunk, the pistol may be transported in the passenger compartment for the above purposes (1 through 4), provided it is unloaded, in a wrapper or container, and not readily accessible to the occupants of the vehicle.

Note - Full time peace officers are not required to obtain a Concealed Pistols License.

When hunting with a pistol, the pistol must be carried in a holster or belt, in plain view, on the outside of your clothing, unless you have a Concealed Pistol License for hunting, or a non restricted Concealed Pistol License.

The law requires a person to report the theft of a pistol to police within 5 days of having knowledge of the theft.

Alcoholic beverages and controlled substances should be avoided when using firearms. Possession and use of firearms while under the influence is unlawful and constitutes a reckless disregard for safety.

It is a felony crime to : (a) discharge a pistol in a facility or from a motor vehicle, snowmobile or off road vehicle in a manner as to endanger the safety of another person; (b) discharge a firearm at a facility that is a dwelling or an occupied structure.

A person can be held criminally and civilly liable for wrongfully pointing or discharging a pistol at another person. This could result in trauma to yourself and your family, the loss of freedom, loss of employment, related wages and health benefits, and future wages and employment.

With certain exceptions, it is unlawful to possess a firearm in a bank, church, school, day care center, court, theater, sports arena, hospital, or any establishment licensed to sell alcoholic beverages.

(copies of this pamphlet are available at the Crawford Co Sheriff's Office)

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