Series of 4 bills introduced to criminalize unsafe gun storage

Congress deadlocked on guns despite Orlando, filibuster
Posted at 6:43 AM, Jan 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-20 06:43:37-05

LANSING, MI (WXYZ) — A series of bills introduced in Lansing this week spelled out harsh penalties for unsafe gun storage.

Senator Rosemary Bayer of Beverly Hills co-authored the package of four bills, which if passed, would require gun owners to store their weapons safely away from kids and would bring criminal penalties if improper gun storage leads to injury or death.

Oxford is part of Bayer's district and she says she thought a lot about the November 30 tragedy when crafting the bills.

But Bayer actually brought up the bills last summer before four students were killed inside Oxford High School with a gun that prosecutors say the suspect brought from home.

"If your kid finds a gun and takes it to school and shows everybody, that's a misdemeanor," Bayer said.

And under the 4-bill package the senator and her co-sponsors introduced this week, if the minor were to use that gun to harm themselves or someone else, that would be a felony.

The bills touch on varying degrees of safe gun storage violation in hopes of deterring any future tragedies.

"We have to change the story here," Bayer said. "We cannot put our kids at risk every day."

The bills, if passed, would also require gun sellers to give a written warning to the buyers at the time of purchase showing that they are aware of the new safe storage rules.

According to the Gifford Center, Massachusetts is the only state that requires all guns to be kept locked away.

Other states have rules specifically for handguns to be locked away, but not Michigan.

"It's really time for Michigan to join the other states that are doing this," Josh Horwitz with the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence said.

He notes that 80% of school shooters get their guns from home.

Bayer and her co-sponsors have an uphill battle in Lansing, where she says republicans have been slow to support this effort.

"I'm ever hopeful," she said.

Bayer's message is that this isn't about taking guns away, it's about making owning them safer for everyone.

Just this past week in Detroit, a toddler was seriously hurt when police say they found an unsecured gun in a coat.

A hearing is scheduled for next week to talk about which of these bills will be brought up for discussion.