Michigan’s New Gun Storage Law (Public Act 17 of 2023)
The Michigan Legislature has recently revised and tightened the state’s gun laws. One key portion of the new legislation is the Gun Storage Law, which governs how a firearm of any type, including handguns, rifles and shotguns, must be stored. Below is a summary of the key aspects of the new law:
- Effective Date: The law takes effect on February 13, 2024.
- Requirement for Secure Storage: The law mandates that anyone in control of a home or other property, who has reason to believe a minor could access the premises, must store unattended guns in a locked container or keep them unloaded and secured with a device such as a trigger lock or cable lock.
- Applicability: This requirement also applies to individuals who leave a gun unattended at a property controlled by someone else.
- Enforcement Conditions: Enforcement of the law occurs only if a minor gains access to an unsecured gun. The law is not violated merely by the presence of an unsecured and unattended gun; a violation occurs if a minor obtains the gun and certain events transpire.
Penalties for Violation
- Minor Possesses Gun in Public or Recklessly: If a minor obtains an unsecured gun and possesses it in a public place or in a reckless or threatening manner, the person responsible for securing the gun is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 93 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.
- Gun Fired Causing Injury: If the minor fires the gun and injures themselves or someone else, the responsible person is guilty of a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
- Serious Bodily Injury Caused: If the firing of the gun results in serious bodily injury, the penalty increases to up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $7,500.
- Death Resulting from Gun Firing: If the firing of the gun results in someone’s death, the penalty increases to up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Exceptions to the Law
- Supervised Use by a Minor: The law provides exceptions in cases where the minor obtains the gun under the supervision of a parent or guardian.
- Break-ins or Self-Defense: Exceptions also apply if the minor accesses the gun after breaking into a property or vehicle, or if the minor is acting in lawful self-defense or defense of another person.
Incentives for Compliance
- Tax Breaks for Safety Devices: To encourage compliance, the new law offers tax breaks on the sale of gun safety devices such as gun safes and gun locks, removing the 6% sales tax from such purchases from 90 days after the law’s effective date until December 31, 2024.
This gun storage law is part of Michigan’s efforts to prevent accidents and misuse of firearms by minors. If you have been charged with a violation of the Michigan Gun Storage Law, call the Van Den Heuvel Law Office to speak to an attorney right away.