Michigan to offer free gun locks to help owners comply with new secure storage laws

Gun locks will soon be available free to the public at local health department offices in Michigan as part of a new program that is to be announced Friday by the Michigan State Police and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

The locks are to be given out at MDHHS county offices and many local health departments statewide to help Michiganders comply with a new secure gun storage law that went into effect in February.

The law now requires all unattended firearms to be unloaded and locked with a locking device or stored in a locked box or safe if a child could have access to it. Anyone who fails to properly lock a gun that a child later uses to injure themselves or another person can be charged with a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $7,500.

If an unsecured gun is used by a child to kill another person or themselves, the owner can be charged with a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Here is the text from the law:

I see a few problems here.

First, is the potential for abuse.

I can just imagine some ex-wife calling the cops to say her husband has an unsecured gun that their child has access to during visitation.

Second, how is it enforced.

Then there is the question of, what happens if the child defeats the lock?

Those cable locks can be defeated by a pair of wire cutters, not enough to stop a determined teenager.

If a teen breaks into your house and steals your gun, and it was locked but the teen cuts off the cable lock, does the adult still get in trouble?

Third, this is potentially unconstitutional under Heller.

This is from Scalia’s opinion.

Is a loaded gun, locked in a safe, or an unloaded gun with a lock considered inoperable?

It might be, and therefore might be unconstitutional.

You know that I totally believe in locking up your guns. But the state can’t mandate it, and there are too many problems with this law that could get innocent people into trouble.

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By J. Kb

6 thoughts on “Michigan safe storage law is potential unconstitutional and horrible”
  1. simple answer- go to a local gun store and look for the white poster with orange letters- its called “the YOUTH HANDGUN SAFETY ACT”… FEDERAL law already…
    typical democrat fuk ups- lets make more and more useless laws to self incriminate everyone…. then pick and chose who we are going to rake over the coals…. this is exhausting

  2. My, what a familiar odor. Way back when I had my FFL in Kalifornia, I had to post much of the signage listed here–


    Yes, I strongly encourage folks to secure their firearms, but the choice is THEIRS. Wife and I raised three kids. My rule was kids could handle any of our firearms when ever they wanted–1) You have to ask permission, 2) I have to be there too. Take away the mystery. When each one was old enough, taught them to shoot.

  3. Then there is the question of, what happens if the child defeats the lock?
    IANAL, but by my reading, that’s in the law [bold emphasis mine]:
    (3) An individual is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 93 days or a fine of not more than $500.00, or both, if the individual violates subsection (1) or (2) by failing to store or leave a firearm in the required manner and as a result of the violation both of the following occur:
    (a) A minor obtains the firearm.
    (b)The minor does either of the following:
    (i) Possesses or exhibits the firearm in a public place.
    (ii) Possesses or exhibits the firearm in the presence of another person in a careless, reckless, or threatening manner.

    Notice the “if”, “and”, and “both” bolded there. For criminal penalties:
    1. the owner must fail to secure a firearm, AND
    2. a child must obtain it, AND
    3. the child must take it to a public place or show it to someone in a “careless, reckless, or threatening manner”.
    All three conditions must be met for the owner to be criminally liable.
    So to answer your question: If a child defeats the lock and gains access to the firearm, but the owner did, in fact, lock it, then nothing should happen — #1 is unmet. Especially if the owner can provide evidence that it was locked and the lock was defeated (showing the cut cable or pried-open lockbox, for example).
    Other possibilities: If the owner does not secure the firearm but a minor doesn’t gain access to it, nothing should happen (#2 is unmet). If the child gains access to a firearm, secured or not, but doesn’t take it anywhere or show it to anyone, nothing should happen (#3 is unmet).
    Now, does that mean a malicious prosecutor can’t try to press charges? Not at all, but by the letter of the law, if the owner takes reasonable measures to secure his/her guns and those reasonable measures are defeated, he still complied with the law and should face no charges or sanctions.
    But again, I’m a software engineer — Boolean conditionals like this are my bread and butter — but I’m not a lawyer or judge. YMMV.

    1. For your other question — Is a loaded gun, locked in a safe, or an unloaded gun with a lock considered inoperable? — that’s also in the law (and I’m still not a lawyer, so take this for what it’s worth).
      (1) An individual who stores or leaves a firearm unattended on premises under the individual’s control, and who knows or reasonably should know that a minor is, or is likely to be, present on the premises….
      It would depend on the definition of “unattended”, but suffice to say, if it’s on the owner’s person, it’s not unattended. If it’s in a drawer or cupboard that’s within the owner’s reach or line-of-sight at all times children are present, then it might or might not be “unattended” — it depends on the definition.
      But again, notice the “and”; if the owner lives alone, has no children, and has no reason to believe children are likely to visit and enter the premises, then there is no requirement the firearm be secured. If an unexpected visit happens, then we’re back to the 3 conditions in my previous comment, which must ALL be met for the owner to face charges.
      (And no, teenagers breaking and entering is NOT a “visit”; it’s a crime in itself. We keep firearms to defend ourselves in case of break-ins; having to secure them in case of break-ins is unreasonable, and precisely what Heller struck down.)

      1. You mean like in NYS where I believe the State wants to criminalize all productive taxpaying Citizens who reject the ruling Party’s propaganda?

Only one rule: Don't be a dick.

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