Senate approves Green-led legislation to redefine pistol length

LANSING, Mich.—The definition of a pistol would be changed from a firearm with an overall length of 30 inches or less to one of 26 inches or less if legislation approved by the Michigan Senate on Tuesday becomes law.

State Sen. Mike Green led the effort and said the change is needed to clear up confusion among firearm manufacturers and dealers, and to bring Michigan more in line with the definition used in federal law and by most other states.

“Because Michigan’s legal definition of a pistol is out of step with most others, many firearms considered long guns by the federal government and other states are actually treated as pistols here,” said Green, R-Mayville. “That makes it more difficult for firearms makers, retailers and buyers to do lawful business in this state, especially as it relates to youth hunting firearms and sporting rifles.

“Hunting and recreational shooting contribute a lot to our economy and this legislation will have a positive impact on that industry.”

Federal and state requirements for background checks at the point of purchase will not change, nor will laws concerning concealed pistol license holders who lawfully purchased, registered or carried a firearm as a pistol under the old definition.

Senate Bills 760-62 were each approved by votes of 36-2, and they now go to the state House for consideration.