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All gun owners should know about Michigan’s new gun safety laws

On Behalf of | Mar 17, 2024 | Criminal Defense

No state has been untouched by gun violence and fatalities where the shooters and/or the victims were children, teens or young adults. Michigan is no exception. As a result, Michigan lawmakers have taken steps to help keep guns out of the hands of those who aren’t old enough to possess them lawfully.

Many gun-related injuries and deaths where children and teens are the shooters are unintentional. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) reports that “firearms involved in unintentional firearm injury deaths among children and adolescents were often stored both loaded and unlocked, and children were most often fatally injured when the shooter was playing with or showing the firearm to others.”

New gun safety laws took effect last month to try to curb both intentional and unintentional shootings by kids. Under the new laws, gun owners are required to keep unattended firearms unloaded and locked either with a locking device or in a locked container if a minor could reasonably be on their property. The state is lowering the cost of gun safety devices to make compliance more affordable.

Potential penalties for gun owners

The penalties for violating the law depend on what the consequences of a minor getting access to a firearm and ammunition were. Even if they exhibited it to others “in a careless, reckless or threatening manner” but no one was shot, the owner of the gun could get three months in jail and a $500 fine. If the minor injures themselves or someone else by discharging the weapon, the owner could face up to ten years in prison and as much as a $10,000 fine.

That increases to 15 years and $10,000 if someone is killed. They can face additional charges depending on their level of culpability in the minor having a loaded weapon. As we saw in the case of Jacob Crumbly, the teen who opened fire at his high school in 2021, killing four classmates, both of his parents were found guilty of four counts of involuntary manslaughter – a first in parental consequences for a school shooter.

No matter how responsible you believe you are as a Michigan gun owner, it’s crucial to understand these and the other new gun safety laws. If you find yourself facing gun-related charges, having experienced legal guidance can help you to protect your rights and freedom.