Senator Bayer: ‘Protect our kids, store your firearms safely’

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Rosemary Bayer (D–Beverly Hills) has introduced legislation to require the safe storage of firearms in the presence of children. 

The legislation coincides with this year’s Wear Orange Day, also known as National Gun Violence Awareness Day, that took place on June 5. Wear Orange Day is an annual event that was started to honor Hadiya Pendleton, who was tragically shot and killed at the age of 15.

“Guns are the second largest killer of children in our country, and our state and national leaders are doing too little to stop this epidemic,” Sen. Bayer said. “Requiring firearm owners to properly store their guns with reasonably safe precautions is just common sense. We cannot have safe, legal gun ownership if we don’t have reasonable laws that hold gun owners responsible.”

Senate Bill 953, introduced by Sen. Bayer, would require guns to be stored safely in order to prevent injury, and provide criminal penalties if failure to safely store a gun results in injury or death. Specifically, guns would have to be kept in a secure lock box, in a location a reasonable person would believe is secure, or securely locked with a locking device. Senate Bill 952, sponsored by Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak), would make complementary changes to the sentencing guidelines to reflect changes created by the main bill.

Senate Bills 954 and 955, sponsored by Sens. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit) and Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor), respectively, would exempt the sales and use tax for gun safety devices like safes, lock boxes, and trigger and barrel locks through 2021.

“Safe storage of firearms in the home is a widely supported and commonsense measure that has been shown to save lives,” said Dr. Sharon Swindell, president of the Michigan Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “Let’s take this important step in Michigan to eliminate tragic and preventable injuries and deaths in our youth.”

According to research by Everytown, 14 states — Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Maryland, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin — have already passed firearm storage laws known as child access prevention (CAP) laws, which state that if a minor accesses a firearm, the person who failed to adequately secure the firearm is liable. 

In addition, a study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association in March 2020, found safe storage firearm laws were associated with a 13% reduction in unintentional firearm fatalities among children aged 0 to 14 years.  

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