A deeper dive into proposed safe storage laws in Michigan

Posted at 10:22 AM, Mar 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-10 11:03:38-05

LANSING, Mich. — Lawmakers in the Michigan Legislature continue to consider bills that would change how firearms are handled in Michigan.

One important question opponents of these bills ask FOX 47 News is how will safe storage laws be enforced?

"How are you going to force every Michigander to have their guns locked up at night,” asked Brenden Bourdreau, executive director of Great Lakes Gun Rights in an interview last week.

FOX 47 News sat down with the bill’s sponsor to ask that question.

“No one's coming in and looking, and even if they walked in and saw a firearm just sitting there, there's no place for punishment in that scenario," said state Sen. Rosemary Bayer.

Bayer sponsored the safe storage bill that's being considered in the Legislature. She says the government won’t come into your home to double check that your guns are locked up.

But if a child accesses your gun, you as the owner are responsible, and “there's different levels of penalties depending on what happens," Bayer said.

If I minor gets a gun, "and shows it off or uses it in a threatening way, so if they take it to school, wave it around or go out and just sort of pretend that they're going to shoot someone, that is a misdemeanor,” she said.

If the child actually fires off the gun and hurts themselves or somebody else, "that is a five year follow up to a five-year felony, up to five years and up to $5,000," she said.

And in the event of a death, “it is up to 15-year felony and up to $15,000," Bayer said. "So it's definitely an escalating thing."

Basically, the bill places the responsibility on the gun owner to secure their firearm away from children, and if the children gain access, you bear the consequences. The same is true for visitors in your home.

“So anybody, whatever reason, has a firearm, and it gets into the possession of a minor, whether it's your kid or someone else's, you are going to be held responsible. That's all it does," Bayer said.

These bills are still being considered, but if they reach Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s desk, she has said she will sign them.

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