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Michigan Felony Expungements May Conflict with Federal Background Check Rules

Photo: Matthew Dae Smith ~ USA TODAY NETWORK

April 18, 2023 ~ With over 100,000 Michigan residents recently expunged of their felonies, questions are being raised as to how this new practice might inadvertently override federal gun laws.

The state’s recent non-assaultive felony expungements, which resulted from the April 11 implementation of the 2021 Clean Slate Act, may end up allowing many people to purchase guns from federally-licensed dealers who were previously ineligible to do so.

Federal law prohibits any convicted felon from owning a gun unless the felony is overturned by a judge. With select felonies older than 10 years now being expunged in Michigan, it is unclear if the feds will agree to recognize the expungements, or if automated federal background checks will be able to pick up on these convictions at all.


April 18, 2023 ~ WJR Senior News Analyst Lloyd Jackson speaks with Paul W. about Michigan‘s new expungement rules and how they may effect gun ownership.

April 18, 2023 ~ Executive Director for the Michigan Sheriffs Association and Retired Calhoun County Sheriff Matt Saxton talks with Kevin Dietz and Tom Jordan about concerns over Michigan‘s new expungement rules and how they may open door to gun ownership.

Matt Saxton, executive director for the Michigan Sheriffs Association and retired Calhoun County Sheriff, expressed concerns today on “All Talk with Tom Jordan & Kevin Dietz.”Oftentimes, when legislation is created in a vacuum, they have unintended consequences…” Saxton said. “I think when legislation is passed, they have to get more input to make sure these unintended consequences don’t occur.”In Michigan, we see that violent felonies are pled down to lower-level felonies… Quite frankly, past criminal history is a good predictor of future criminal activities.”