Michigan is considering new legislation to severely punish those who don’t secure their firearms. Bills SB550, SB551, SB552, and SB553 are co-authored by state Sens. Bayer, McMorrow, Irwin, Geiss, Moss, Wojno, Hertel, Bullock, Change, and Polehanki.
“If your kid finds the gun and takes it to school and shows everybody, that’s a misdemeanor,” Senator Rosemary Bayer (D) said, “If they use that firearm and cause harm to themselves or anyone else, that’s a felony.”
In November 2021, sophomore Ethan Crumbley, allegedly, perpetrated the shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan. Four students were killed and seven other people were injured. Crumbley’s parents were both charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter for failure to properly secure firearms in their home.
Although these bills were filed the summer before the Oxford shooting, that event is certainly informing the legislative process.
Josh Horwitz, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence claims shooters finding a gun at home isn’t unusual. “80% of school shooters get their firearms from the home. It’s really time for Michigan to join the other states that are doing this and make all gun owners realize this is an earnest responsibility that they must take seriously.”
Only Massachusetts required guns to be stored in a locked place. Other states have varying degrees of regulations.
“I’m ever hopeful; I’m very optimistic,” Senator Bayer, said, “It’s been a challenge, I’ll say that.” She went on, “This doesn’t have to be a partisan issue. There are evidence-based approaches to save lives.”
One of those approaches is that of education coupled with hardware adopted by the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Their Project Child S.A.F.E. is the largest firearm safety project in the US.
The Project Child S.A.F.E. website says, “It was developed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms industry, and is committed to promoting genuine firearms safety through the distribution of safety education messages and free firearm Safety Kits.”
Their kits are sent out free of charge and are available in both English and Spanish. They have distributed more than 37 million kits.
Every new gun sold in the U.S. includes a safety lock. The NSSF emphasizes that while securing a gun with a chamber lock is a responsible step, it’s not enough. The website projectchildsafe.org is full of ideas for discussing guns with children and demystifying them.
Legislation like that being proposed in Michigan will punish those whose firearms are used in violence if they didn’t secure their firearms. Education like that provided by the NSSF can help prevent the misuse of firearms.