Barrel swapping in must register states

I am curious if I bought a 9mm conversion barrel for my G33, if I would still be legal in my home state of Michigan. We have to register our pistols in Michigan and part of the registration ask about caliber. I dont want to sell my G33 for a G26 if a barrel swap and a magazine is all I need. I am also curious how this affects pistols like the p320 that are modular.

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That is a great question, @Robert57! I’m not sure, so I’m going to ask @Tom_Grieve and @MikeBKY who are both attorneys with the USCCA Attorney network to give us some insight on that.

Neither are in Michigan, so their answers will probably be a bit general. (Have to love legalese)

Another option is to reach out to a local attorney or law enforcement who may be able to shed some light on this. This is a fabulous question! @Zee - do you know anything about this in your time in Michigan?

Glad to have you here!

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@Dawn @Robert57, not a legal opinion of course, but heres what I can find:

  • Michigan doesn’t have a handgun registry
    (Registration is not required) however all sales are recorded. " While Michigan has no system of registration , retail firearms sellers are required to keep a register of all firearms sales, and handgun sales must be reported to law enforcement."

  • The frame is what is considered to define the firearm. It’s always marked with a serial number and that’s what is the primary identification. Ordinarily, changing barrels, triggers, sights, grips, adding a flash suppressor do not alter the identification of the firearm and do not have to be reported to anyone…

  • UNLESS it fundamentally alters the nature of the gun, such as a long barrel and upper which converts the handgun into a rifle. If that happens, you now have to abide by rifle laws, although I’m not aware of any reporting requirements.

^^ Sometimes people get in trouble here because they use a Carbine Conversion Kit and essentially end up with an illegally short barreled rifle. (Some kits are going to give you a legal no-registration-require carbine, others will require you to make a federal registration of the new configuration as a long gun and may require a special permit due to the short barrel length. )

And… legal observations by non lawyers should always be checked :wink:

** ETA: “no registry” because there’s no requirement to register previously owned guns, or guns you bring with you when you move into the state. Handgun sales have to be conducted through an FFL and are recorded.

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@Robert57, as @Dawn has mentioned, I am not licensed to practice law in Michigan and cannot give legal advice for your particular question. Kentucky does not require registration other than that required under federal law, so there would not be an issue here. I did look at the Michigan statute, MCL 28.422, with respect to the registration requirements. The statute appears to address only only the private sale of firearms between individuals. Firearm is defined as “any weapon which will, is designed to, or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by action of an explosive.” MCL 28.421©. In a quick search of Michigan law, I did not see any cases addressing switching a barrel of a firearm.
To me, it does not appear that modifying your G33 to shoot 9mm would violate MI law, however there is one concerning nugget in the license application instructions -“MCL 750.232, failure to register the purchase of a firearm or a firearm component” but MCL 750.232 was repealed in 2017, and that specific part of the replacement law was removed.
If it were me, I would call the licensing division of the MI State Police to see what they say. If they do not know, you may want to find a local attorney who may know the answer.

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Get an Arizona CPL and don’t worry about “registering” any handguns. The entire issue becomes moot, provided you aren’t accidentally converting to a SBR.

Our “Acquisition” records here in Michigan are fundamentally flawed. You turn your purchase paperwork over to your local sheriff or MSP post, then if they don’t lose it they send it to MSP headquarters, assuming it doesn’t get lost or destroyed in the mail.

Getting an out of state CPL exempts you from having to turn those purchase transaction papers over to the state. It quite literally lists a person with a CPL (or another states equivalent since the name is not universal across the country) from ANY other State as exempt from being required to “register”.

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Sorry Robert! I am unaware. My suggestion is contact an experienced Michigan attorney.

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