Michigan "Firearm" change could prove to be a valuable defense

by: Matt Newburg

05/22/2015 12:01 PM EST
  criminal law  

On May 12, 2015, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed a series of bills that, in part, modified the definition of a firearm in Michigan.  That change could prove to be a huge benefit to Joe Forebeck.  Joe Forebeck, of Lansing is a 17 year old student who was recently arraigned in Eaton County District Court for bringing a BB gun to Waverly High School.  He was charged with Feloneous Assualt in a Weapons free school zone which is punishable by up to four years in the state prison. 

According to new reports, Mr. Forebeck brought a BB gun to the school and it resembled a semi-automatic pistol.  Prior to May 12, 2015, a BB Gun was considered a firearm by state statute.  That has all changed.  In a package of bills, the governor signed a bill into law that, by definition, eliminates any possibility that the BB Gun Mr. Forebeck allegedly brought into the school was a firearm.  The word "firearm",is now defined to include any weapon which will, is designed to, or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by action of an explosive.  While a firearm is not permitted on school grounds, there is also no question that, given the amendment to the state statute, Mr. Forebeck, if he had a BB Gun, did not have a "firearm" at the school.