New law will require gun owners to keep their firearms safely secured from minors, a widely supported, evidence-based step in preventing gun violence. 


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (February 12, 2024) — Today, Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) joined community leaders to inform the public about the new firearm safe storage law going into effect tomorrow, Tuesday, February 13.

“Finally, we have a tangible means by which we are addressing gun safety,” Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks said. “Today, we want to speak clearly to all gun owners in Michigan: safely storing your firearm is simple and effective, and starting tomorrow, it will be the law of the land. Parents, teachers, doctors, and first responders have been pleading for real action for years, and I am proud to have led a majority in the legislature that was willing to hear those cries and respond. I am confident that this law will save lives.”

Gun violence is a leading cause of early death in our country, killing tens of thousands a year, and it became the number one cause of death for American children in 2020. Research indicates that requiring safe, proper storage of firearms is associated with a reduction in gun-related injuries and deaths.

“As educators, parents, and caring adults in this community, we are ready for the epidemic of gun deaths among kids to change. It’s our deepest hope that children are not exposed to the grief and trauma of gun violence or gun accidents – and that not one more life is lost because a gun fails to be safely stored,” said Dr. Arnetta Thompson, Superintendent of Godfrey-Lee Public Schools. “We implore every gun owner to take note of this important change in our laws and get their gun safety device today.”

Michigan Senate Democrats passed the following legislation – developed with input from state and national experts, parent advocacy groups, and responsible gun owners – to help keep Michiganders safer by preventing the misuse of deadly firearms by children and those who pose a threat to themselves or others:

  • Senate Bill (SB) 79 (PA 17 of 2023) – sponsored by Sen. Rosemary Bayer – requires Michiganders to keep their firearms being stored or left unattended unloaded and safely locked away if it is reasonably known that a minor is or will likely be present on the premises. This bill also establishes penalties for a violation and requires the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to inform the public of the set penalties, publish lethal means counseling literature, and provide that literature to federally licensed firearms dealers. 
  • SB 80, (PA 16 of 2023) – sponsored by Sen. Kristen McDonald Rivet – updates Michigan’s criminal code for safe, secure storage of firearms for child access protection. 
  • SB 81 (PA 15 of 2023) – sponsored by Sen. Jeff Irwin – and SB 82 (PA 14 of 2023) – sponsored by Sen. Kevin Hertel – reduce the costs of firearm safety devices by exempting them from sales and use taxes to ensure that owners can safely store their guns, keeping them out of the hands of children and criminals.  

“We have been awaiting the date when the safe storage law, and other gun safety measures enacted by the legislature last year, would go into effect,” said Eric Winstrom, Chief of the Grand Rapids Police Department. “Keeping guns safely stored and out of the hands of children is a critically important issue in our community, and we are happy to help spread the word not only about the availability of free trigger locks, but also about the change in our laws that ensure every gun owner must take responsibility for keeping their firearm safely stored.”

Together, these changes will help keep young Michiganders from harming themselves or others, intentionally or accidentally, while also respecting Michigan’s hunting, farming, and sporting traditions. These gun violence prevention measures will maintain the protections for responsible gun owners.

“The shocking fact that gun violence is the number one killer of children in our country is a tragedy. As a family physician, I deal with the fear that families have that gun violence may threaten their children. Primary care providers make a regular practice of screening families for at-risk gun ownership and counsel them about safe practices,” said Dr. John Cavacece of Trinity Health. “This new law is something we can remind families of during our counseling, and I applaud the passage of this bill. Hopefully it will be heard by the public to store their guns safely, and we can save children’s lives!”

Michigan Senate Democrats remain committed to tackling the issue of gun violence across our state and will continue working with experts to establish practical solutions that will make our communities safer places to live and thrive.