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Thread: Michigan Pistol must be 26"-30" long..but what is the legal way to measure OAL in MI?

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    Michigan Pistol must be 26"-30" long..but what is the legal way to measure OAL in MI?

    I see increased number of threads related to Michigan Pistols. I am sure many gun owners are trying to buy a Michigan Pistol or to convert a rifle to be a Michigan Pistol by installing a folding stock prior to 1-1-13 when new law comes into effect that. Only these who registered prior to that date will be allowed to grandfather such pistols and able to carry under MI CPL laws.

    It is critically important that such type of firearm is between 26" and 30" to be legally a pistol in Michigan. If rifle/shotgun is under 26", then it is a short barreled rifle/shotgun according to MI Attorney General Opinion # 6280 (link ---> http://www.ag.state.mi.us/opinion/da...0s/op06280.htm). If it is over 30", then it is no longer a pistol. Possession of ether concealed (including vehicle, of course) is a felony under MI law even if person has a CPL.

    We have to deal with small window of length. But, what is a legal way of measuring an OAL of firearm in Michigan. Also, shall removable (threaded) muzzle device be included in OAL? Clear, unambiguous answer to this is very important to make sure these who wish to carry MI Pistols under authority of CPL are not in legal jeopardy. I do not hink Michigan law is clear on these two extremely critical points:

    I found no MI statutes that specify how OAL shall be measured. In absence of a specific law, it seems to me that there are two reasonable methods: ATF method and "Dictionary" method.

    ATF method:
    "The overall length of a firearm is the distance between the muzzle of the barrel and the rearmost portion of the weapon measured on a line parallel to the axis of the bore." (see page 6 of this link ---> http://www.atf.gov/publications/down...-chapter-2.pdf) The key here is that measurement shall be done "...on a line parallel to the axis of the bore"

    "Dictionary" method:
    The first listed choice for definition of "length" in Merriam-Webster dictionary is "the longer or longest dimension of an object" (see link ----> http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/length)

    Your firearm may or may not be a pistol under Michigan law depending which method you use. For example, some AK-47 under folders are less than 26" per ATF method, but over 26" per "Dictionary" method (measured from tip of barrel to tip of a grip). So, which method is legal in Michigan. Do not conclude too fast that ATF method prevails. I believe there is nothing in MI firearm statutes that refers to ATF method. On another hand, Michigan courts seems to rely on dictionary definitions when ambiguity exists.

    Also, muzzle devices. Should these be included in OAL? ATF literature states (see the same link for ATF above) that measurement is done to "...the muzzle of the barrel..." suggesting that muzzle device is not included. But, this is per ATF (federal law and regulations apply). I did not find anything in MI law that clears this ambiguity. One example is a PTR-91 rifle with folding stock. One that I saw recently is over 30" with muzzle brake attached (makes it a rifle in Michigan) and below 30" when muzzle removed (currently a pistol in Michigan).

    It will be great if members can provide thoughts on this subject. Links to laws, opinions, cites will also be greatly appreciated.

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    Regular Member Michigander's Avatar
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    My suggestion is to order or build an AK with no butt stock, no pistol grip fore end, and a 16" barrel. Being under 26" and not a NFA device, this will give you permanent pistol status by all laws. If however you come up with a stock system that can pop on and off easily, you'll have the ability to carry a full blown rifle with you, maintaining pistol status the whole way until you pop the stock on.

    Other guns you can do this with are MAC's, Uzi's, and Ruger Chargers. I am sure there must be others, but I don't of any off the top of my head.
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    Regular Member Xanaseyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michigander View Post
    My suggestion is to order or build an AK with no butt stock, no pistol grip fore end, and a 16" barrel. Being under 26" and not a NFA device, this will give you permanent pistol status by all laws. If however you come up with a stock system that can pop on and off easily, you'll have the ability to carry a full blown rifle with you, maintaining pistol status the whole way until you pop the stock on.

    Other guns you can do this with are MAC's, Uzi's, and Ruger Chargers. I am sure there must be others, but I don't of any off the top of my head.
    I know this has come up before, but I don't quite get how this wouldn't become an SBR.
    If you attach a stock to fire from the shoulder, you've satisfied the definition of a rifle; if the overall length is then less than 26 inches, you've satisfied the definition of a short-barreled rifle.
    Removing the stock and causing the overall length to fall below 26 inches would be essentially like cutting the stock off a rifle, leaving you with a weapon made from a rifle, having an overall length of less than twenty-six inches.

    I'm not saying that it wouldn't be a handgun until the stock is attached, but I don't think that is the only classification the weapon would fall into once the stock is removed.

    The term “short-barreled rifle” means a rifle having one or more barrels less than sixteen inches in length and any weapon made from a rifle (whether by alteration, modification, or otherwise) if such weapon, as modified, has an overall length of less than twenty-six inches.
    The term “rifle” means a weapon designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder and designed or redesigned and made or remade to use the energy of an explosive to fire only a single projectile through a rifled bore for each single pull of the trigger.

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    Regular Member NHCGRPR45's Avatar
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    Yup, thats how I read it also.
    But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. Declaration of Independence July 4, 1776

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    Regular Member Michigander's Avatar
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    The way I have always read up on it, as I recall, is that you can change a pistol to a rifle, and back, as many times as you want, but not a rifle to a pistol. I don't have time to look up a bunch of cites, but I do know of one off the top of my head-

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_...r_Arms_Company
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    Regular Member Evil Creamsicle's Avatar
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    Because, technically, the weapon was never designed or intended to be fired from the shoulder.
    ...the cleverly modified stock that someone else may or may not design down the road may make it possible to do so, but, the weapon itself was not designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder

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    Regular Member Xanaseyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michigander View Post
    The way I have always read up on it, as I recall, is that you can change a pistol to a rifle, and back, as many times as you want, but not a rifle to a pistol. I don't have time to look up a bunch of cites, but I do know of one off the top of my head-

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_...r_Arms_Company
    I think what I'm getting hung up on is how, having been made into a rifle, it doesn't qualify as a "weapon made from a rifle" with a sub-26" OAL.


    Quote Originally Posted by Evil Creamsicle View Post
    Because, technically, the weapon was never designed or intended to be fired from the shoulder.
    If the intent isn't to fire the weapon from the shoulder, then I've missed the whole point of attaching the stock.

    If attaching a stock doesn't make the weapon into a rifle, why is the 16" barrel important?
    Last edited by Xanaseyr; 08-13-2012 at 08:18 PM.

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    Regular Member Michigander's Avatar
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    I just did a quick bit of googling, and it appears that there is a lot of disagreement on the issue, and some stating that the ATF wants to pretend that the ruling only applied to that one TC platform.

    I'm not sure which way is true, so if someone has a concrete cite to prove one way or the other through ATF opinions or laws, please post it, otherwise I'll get on figuring it our for sure after my stupid computer gets fixed.
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    Regular Member Evil Creamsicle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xanaseyr View Post
    I think what I'm getting hung up on is how, having been made into a rifle, it doesn't qualify as a "weapon made from a rifle" with a sub-26" OAL.



    If the intent isn't to fire the weapon from the shoulder, then I've missed the whole point of attaching the stock.

    If attaching a stock doesn't make the weapon into a rifle, why is the 16" barrel important?
    My point being, if you make a pistol, as a pistol, with no intention of it being a rifle, and someone else still designs a stock for it, it is different than if you lob the stock off of a rifle.

    'made from a rifle' and 'made into a rifle' are different.

    Though, as Michigander said, there is much debate on how this actually plays out.

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    Regular Member Xanaseyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evil Creamsicle View Post
    'made from a rifle' and 'made into a rifle' are different.
    I absolutely agree, but I'm not sure how you can make it into a rifle and then make it into something else without that something else having been made from a rifle.

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    Regular Member Michigander's Avatar
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    From http://www.atf.gov/regulations-rulin...ing-2011-4.pdf

    Therefore, so long as a parts kit or collection of parts is not used to make a firearm regulated under the NFA (e.g., a short-barreled rifle or “any other weapon” as defined by 26 U.S.C. 5845(e)), no NFA firearm is made when the same parts are assembled or re-assembled in a configuration not regulated under the NFA (e.g., a pistol, or a rifle with a barrel of 16 inches or more in length). Merely assembling and disassembling such a rifle does not result in the making of a new weapon; rather, it is the same rifle in a knockdown condition (i.e., complete as to all component parts). Likewise, because it is the same weapon when reconfigured as a pistol, no “weapon made from a rifle” subject to the NFA has been made.

    Nonetheless, if a handgun or other weapon with an overall length of less than 26 inches, or a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length is assembled or otherwise produced from a weapon originally assembled or produced only as a rifle, such a weapon is a “weapon made from a rifle” as defined by 26 U.S.C. 5845(a)(4). Such a weapon would not be a “pistol” because the weapon was not originally designed, made, and intended to fire a projectile by one hand.
    Last edited by Michigander; 08-16-2012 at 09:10 AM.
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    Regular Member Michigander's Avatar
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    And on that note, does anyone know of someone we can go to for barreled AK receivers? I don't much want to get into building them to have just one.
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    Regular Member Xanaseyr's Avatar
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    Okay, that's something.

    Quote Originally Posted by Michigander View Post
    And on that note, does anyone know of someone we can go to for barreled AK receivers? I don't much want to get into building them to have just one.
    I don't know, but I might be interested in one or two myself.

    It is my understanding that ATF measures with the stock fully extended, and I've heard that Michigan measures the weapon in its shortest configuration.
    If this is the case, it seems like we could save a lot of hassle and just get something which folds to under 26" and unfolds to at least that length.

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    Regular Member TheQ's Avatar
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    I discussed this a few weeks ago with Ryan Ransom, who has an FFL.

    He told me Michigan law doesn't define how to measure OAL, but the Feds do -- so use the Federal standard.

    The federal standard says you build a square box and put the firearm into it. you then measure the length of the box and that is your OAL.
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    Regular Member Michigander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xanaseyr View Post
    If this is the case, it seems like we could save a lot of hassle and just get something which folds to under 26" and unfolds to at least that length.
    Not quite. Under 26" folded is illegal by state law unless you have a FFL or a pre 86 machine gun, hence my suggestion for detachable stocks on state and federal law pistols with 16" barrels.

    This is why semi auto Uzi's made for Michigan have 18" barrels.
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    Regular Member Michigander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheQ View Post
    I discussed this a few weeks ago with Ryan Ransom, who has an FFL.

    He told me Michigan law doesn't define how to measure OAL, but the Feds do -- so use the Federal standard.

    The federal standard says you build a square box and put the firearm into it. you then measure the length of the box and that is your OAL.
    Not quite that simple.

    AG opinion 6280. (Ironic, isn't it, how that's the model number of my holster?)

    http://www.ag.state.mi.us/opinion/da...0s/op06280.htm

    It is my opinion, in answer to your second question, that rifles and shotguns whose barrels are at least 16 and 18 inches in length, respectively, with folding and/or telescoping stocks, which are fully operable with stocks folded or contracted, and whose lengths are less than 26 inches with stocks folded or contracted, fall within the definitions of 'short-barreled rifle' and 'short-barreled shotgun,' and their sale or possession is prohibited by MCL 750.224b; MSA 28.421(2).

    Frank J. Kelley

    Attorney General
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xanaseyr View Post
    Okay, that's something.


    I don't know, but I might be interested in one or two myself.

    It is my understanding that ATF measures with the stock fully extended, and I've heard that Michigan measures the weapon in its shortest configuration.
    If this is the case, it seems like we could save a lot of hassle and just get something which folds to under 26" and unfolds to at least that length.
    Hi. New guy here. I was passing by and read this, and had to stop in to say something. I was going through this myself a few years back in Michigan with my para M1 carbine. Went back and forth with the ATF and local authorities for months with this issue. Seems I was short a half inch on my M1 & a little more on my Tantal AK74. The 74 I had no choice, and the gun shop made me put a fixed stock on it before they would hand it over (I ordered it to them from an online store) or I had to buy it as a pistol and I didn't feel like going thru all that malarkey at the time. I didn't mind because I don't like folding stocks on AKs but my M1 was something else.

    At any rate, I see that "the Q" said "He told me Michigan law doesn't define how to measure OAL, but the Feds do -- so use the Federal standard."

    The first poster is indeed correct; the feds measure with the stock open (which would except both of my firearms, leaving me totally legal) but even though I can't find it right now, I did in fact have in my hands at one point, proof that Michigan measures with the stocks closed, and depending on your barrel lengths, it would put you in the SBR category, unless you can prove that the gun came that way for historical purposes. Mine was hard because there was nothing in the serial number that would prove my folding stock on my M1 was original. (or not original) So for all intents and purposes I could skate with it but I didn't care to take any chances so I kept the fixed stock on it.

    As for taking into account the muzzle devices, you should measure them if they're 1. Welded, or 2. silver soldered with a solder that can only melt at 1100 degrees or higher. If they thread, pin, crimp, or any combination thereof, you cannot take them into account as far as OAL. The ATF in charge of this section told me that if he finds me in possession with any of these guns, he'll do nothing because they're legal to him, but if a state leo finds them, they're legally capable of finding me in violation of their laws. Odd circumstance I know. It was much like the rules in the Army; "You can add to but not take away."
    This was as of around 2010. If any of these new laws that came into effect here recently removes these circumstances, then I guess we're all ok. I was just relaying what happened to me back then.
    Last edited by shooter1234; 02-12-2014 at 09:57 PM.

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    Oh yea, one more thing. Attorneys General opinions are not law. They are literally just opinions. They can be tossed by a judge in court.

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shooter1234 View Post
    Oh yea, one more thing. Attorneys General opinions are not law. They are literally just opinions. They can be tossed by a judge in court.
    Welcome to OCDO shooter1234 - popped in on an old/necro thread I see.

    Would not want to bet my freedom on disregarding the AG's opinion. The courts traditionally take a dim view of such actions.

    For reference:
    http://www.legislature.mi.gov/%28S%2...e=mcl-750-224b

    '(1) A person shall not manufacture, sell, offer for sale, or
    possess a short-barreled shotgun or a short-barreled rifle.

    '(2) A person who violates this section is guilty of a felony
    punishable by imprisonment for not more than 5 years, or a fine of
    not more than $2,500.00, or both.'
    http://www.titleii.com/bardwell/MI_6280.txt
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    Regular Member Evil Creamsicle's Avatar
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    This thread isn't really relevant anymore though, since Michigan law regarding pistols was changed from 'less than 30 inches' to '26 inches or less'.

    Quote Originally Posted by MCL 28.421(e)
    (e) "Pistol" means a loaded or unloaded firearm that is 26 inches or less in length, or a loaded or unloaded firearm that by its construction and appearance conceals it as a firearm.
    And since Federal law says its an SBR if less than 26 inches, you're looking at an illegal SBR if your micrometer is calibrated differently than the governments, since it would need to be exactly 26 inches to qualify as a pistol in Michigan but not an SBR by Federal law.
    Last edited by Evil Creamsicle; 02-14-2014 at 10:20 AM. Reason: clarification

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    Regular Member TheQ's Avatar
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    This whole thread is obsolete as MI Pistols no longer exist (except for ones that were grandfathered in before 1/1/13).
    Call for a cop, call for an ambulance, and call for a pizza. See who shows up first.

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheQ View Post
    This whole thread is obsolete as MI Pistols no longer exist (except for ones that were grandfathered in before 1/1/13).
    Would it be best then under that circumstance to close/lock the thread.....or would it be better to have a cite? Don't think I missed it.
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    Regular Member Evil Creamsicle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grapeshot View Post
    Would it be best then under that circumstance to close/lock the thread.....or would it be better to have a cite? Don't think I missed it.
    Dude, read one post above Q, I did provide a cite.

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    Regular Member Michigander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evil Creamsicle View Post
    And since Federal law says its an SBR if less than 26 inches, you're looking at an illegal SBR if your micrometer is calibrated differently than the governments, since it would need to be exactly 26 inches to qualify as a pistol in Michigan but not an SBR by Federal law.
    In addition to what I said above, there is another alternative. What we used to have with 26-30 inch guns, I called Michigan Dumb Ass Pistols, MiDAPs for short. Now, with the CB Draco and arm braces, we have what a certain someone who can name himself if he wishes has named Federal Asinine Pisols, FAPs for short. Grandfathered and papered MiDAPs and registered FAPs may be carried as handguns in Michigan.

    Just make sure with a FAP that it is under 26" OAL, otherwise Michigan law does not consider it a handgun.

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    Last edited by Michigander; 02-14-2014 at 10:46 PM.
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