Michigan legalizes short-barreled rifles and shotguns

Michigan State Capitol, ca. 1885

Michiganders will soon have a broader selection of firearms to choose from. The National Rifle Association is praising Governor Rick Snyder for signing Senate Bill 610, which removes the prohibition on short-barreled rifles and shotguns for gun owners in compliance with federal gun laws. The bill also provides that SBR and SBS owners in Michigan will have to keep copies of their approved federal paperwork with them while transporting such firearms.

The antiquated restrictions on such weapons hearken back to a time when handguns were more severely restricted, and were meant to target the handgun substitutes used in locations where legal handguns were largely unavailable. The Michigan law modified by S.B. 610 actually predates the similar federal law—the National Firearms Act of 1934—by three years. It was enacted to bolster a racist handgun permit law that was passed in response to a black doctor’s defense of his family from the Ku Klux Klan with a handgun. Now that the individual right to keep and bear handguns and other firearms has been affirmed as constitutionally guaranteed, vestigial gun control measures like the restrictions on short rifles and short shotguns ought to go.