Snyder signs bills to clarify definition of firearms

Airsoft guns, such as paintball, BB or pellet guns, will no longer qualify as firearms under state law, under legislation signed Tuesday by Gov. Rick Snyder that brings Michigan in line with federal firearms statutes.

“These measures address the confusion that has arisen over Michigan’s varying definitions of firearms,” Snyder said. “The bills were overwhelmingly supported in both the House and Senate, and will give sportsmen and other residents the clarity they have sought on this issue.”

House Bill 4151, sponsored by Rep. Peter Pettalia, repeals criminal penalties for minors possessing airsoft guns. HBs 4152, 4153, 4154 and 4156, sponsored by state Reps. Jason Sheppard, Ray Franz, Brett Roberts, and Tom Barrett, respectively, revise the definition of firearm in various state statutes. They are now Public Acts 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25, respectively.

HB 4155, sponsored by Rep. Triston Cole, expands the definition of “weapon” within weapon-free school zones to include pneumatic guns. It is now Public Act 26 of 2015. HBs 4160 and 4161, sponsored by state Reps. Joel Johnson and Holly Hughes, define the term “brandishing” in a manner consistent with federal and state court opinions. They are now PAs 27 and 28.  Senate Bill 85, sponsored by Sen. Dave Hildenbrand, addresses the authority of local governments to regulate airsoft guns. It is now PA 29 of 2015.

Similar versions of some of these bills were vetoed at the end of the last legislative term, as all of the bills in the package were not approved by both chambers and would have made the definition of firearm more complicated as opposed to clarifying it.
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