Traverse City Record-Eagle

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February 26, 2013

Man accused of possessing unregistered guns

TRAVERSE CITY — A Long Lake Township man who had a pair of unregistered pistols faces a pair of criminal misdemeanors.

Mark Joseph Bohamed, 53, is charged with two counts of purchasing a pistol without a license. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail. He also recently pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of domestic violence.

Grand Traverse County deputies went to Bohamed’s home on Cedar Crest Drive in Long Lake Township on Feb. 1 on a report of possible domestic situation. They eventually arrested him inside the home. He had threatened to use a gun, a police report said, and deputies subsequently found a pair of unregistered handguns in his room.

Michigan is one of a few states that requires residents to register handguns with law enforcement agencies, Sheriff Tom Bensley said. Residents until recently also were required to obtain a pistol purchase permit from their local sheriff or police chief in order to legally buy a pistol, but that requirement was partially dropped in December.

Those who want to purchase a pistol from another individual still have to obtain such a permit, but those who buy one from a store don’t. The charge against Bohamed, even though it refers to purchasing guns, is a “catch all” charge that addresses unregistered guns, Grand Traverse Prosecutor Bob Cooney said.

“It really is in this case a possession of unregistered guns, even if it doesn’t sound like it,” he said.

Bohamed told a Record-Eagle reporter he didn’t know he was breaking the law. He legally purchased the guns more than two decades ago in California, he said, and brought them to Michigan when he moved here. He never registered them in Michigan because he didn’t think he had to do so, he said.

“Honestly, I didn’t even think about it,” he said. “Half the time they were in storage, and half the time they were buried in the closet.”

Sheriff’s Capt. Randy Fewless said those who purchase guns outside of Michigan and bring them here sometimes get into trouble because they don’t know they have to register the weapons.

“A lot people think ... ‘I bought the gun legally, so I don’t have to worry about other ramifications’,” he said.

Bohamed is free on bond pending criminal proceedings.

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