Thursday, October 23, 2003

Detroit Police Chief Caught With Unregistered Handgun at An Airport, Prosecutor's Office Having Trouble With Nonexistent Issue

The Detroit free Press Reports that Detroit Police Chief Oliver was caught going through Airport security with a concealed pistol in his bag. Carrying concealed in Michigan without a permit is a 5 year felony, but there is a question as to whether he as a police Chief but not yet as a certified Law Enforcement Officer may carry concealed without a permit.

However the pistol was not registered so it should be an easy charge and conviction for posession of an unregistered handgun, but

Prosecutor Michael Duggan and several assistants spent Wednesday afternoon trying to determine whether Oliver should face criminal charges because his personal .22-caliber handgun is not registered in Michigan.
Assistant Prosecutor Rebecca Tenorio, an office spokeswoman, said no decision had been made, but one could come this week.
Tenorio said an issue is whether Oliver was required to register the weapon in Michigan if he had registered it in another state when he purchased it.

There is no issue at all, MCL 28.429 Pistols; safety inspection required; certificate of inspection; exemptions; requirements of
pistol presented for inspection; violation as civil infraction; fine.

quite clearly states that:

Sec. 9. (1) A person within the state who owns or comes into possession of a pistol shall, if he or she resides in a city, township, or village having an organized police department, present the pistol for safety inspection to the
commissioner or chief of police of the city, township, or village police department or to a duly authorized deputy of the commissioner or chief of police. If that person resides in a part of the county not included within a city, township, or village having an organized police department, he or she shall present the pistol for safety inspection to the sheriff of the county or to a duly authorized deputy of the sheriff. If the person presenting the pistol is eligible to possess a pistol under section 2(1), a certificate of inspection shall be issued in triplicate on a form provided by the
director of the department of state police, containing the name, age, address, description, and signature of the person presenting the pistol for inspection, together with a full description of the pistol. The original of the certificate shall be delivered to the registrant. The duplicate of the certificate shall be mailed within 48 hours to the director of the department of state police and filed and indexed by the department and kept as a permanent official record. The triplicate of the certificate shall be retained and filed in the office of the sheriff, commissioner, or chief of police.
This section does not apply to a wholesale or retail dealer in firearms who regularly engages in the business of selling pistols at retail, or to a person who holds a collection of pistols kept solely for the purpose of display as
relics, curios, or antiques, and that are not made for modern ammunition or are permanently deactivated.

So it doesn’t look like the law is unclear at all about needing to register pistols in Michigan even if it may have been registered elsewhere, the Wayne County prosecutors office should know this and not need to delay due to a nonexistent issue. There is no provision exempting pistols registered in other states from having to be registered in Michigan. Since he didn’t register it, Chief Oliver has quite clearly violated this law, not to mention Federal Law concerning undeclared firearms in Airport areas.

Remember, if you or I had brought an undeclared, unregistered pistol into an airport in Michigan, we would be doing what is colloquially known around here as the “Detroit Macarena” (For those of you who don’t know, the Detroit Macarena starts with your hands either in the air or on the hood of a car; progresses to them behind your head; then behind your back; then the snick of handcuffs going on; and then ending with a flourish of you hopping into a police car) and I very much doubt there would be any "issue" about the charges that would be made.

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