Safe Storage for Firearms and Background Checks for Firearms in Michigan
In a move to address the issue of gun violence, Democratic Governor, Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, signed legislation on April 13, 2023 at Michigan State University, requiring the safe storage of firearms and corresponding ammunition around minors. The urgency to implement this law was fueled by a tragic incident that occurred two months earlier at the same university, where three students lost their lives and five others were injured in a mass shooting.
Under the new legislation, it is now mandatory for individuals to lock up their firearms in the presence of minors, defined as individuals under the age of 18. Failure to do so can result in misdemeanor charges, punishable by up to 93 days in jail, a fine of up to $500, or both. If a minor gains access to an improperly stored firearm and causes harm to another person, the individual responsible for the firearm could face felony charges. These charges carry a penalty of up to five years imprisonment, a fine of up to $5,000, or both. In the tragic event that a minor uses an obtained firearm to kill another person or themselves, the fines increase significantly to a potential 15-year prison sentence, up to $7,500 in fines, or both.
It is important to note that the safe storage laws do not apply to certain situations, such as ranching or farming activities, target practices, hunting, or instruction in the safe use of a firearm. Additionally, employed minors who need to possess a firearm for their job are exempt from the requirements of safe storage.
To encourage responsible gun ownership and compliance with safe storage practices, Governor Whitmer signed additional bills exempting “firearm safety devices” from the state’s sales and use tax until December 31, 2024. This incentive aims to make it easier for firearm owners to secure their weapons appropriately and protect children from accessing them.
In addition to safe storage laws, Michigan has also taken steps to enhance background checks for firearms. Previously, only pistol licenses required a background check in the state. However, the recent legislation now mandates background checks for any firearm purchase, requiring individuals to undergo a background check to obtain a license.
The legislation also includes provisions regarding military members. Military personnel on leave or discharged from active duty are required to obtain a license for their firearms within 30 days of arriving in Michigan. The new law does not affect firearms acquired before its implementation, and it does not apply to pistols handed down through a will. However, any firearms passed down through a will must be licensed within 30 days of changing ownership.
To obtain a license through a background check, individuals must meet several qualifications, including age requirements. The purchaser must be at least 18 years old, while the seller must be at least 21 years old. Additionally, the individual must not have any pending felony charges and must be a legal resident of the state, demonstrated by possessing a valid Michigan driver’s license, personal identification card, or being lawfully able to vote, among other requirements.
The implementation of safe storage laws and the expansion of background checks for firearms in Michigan are significant steps toward promoting responsible gun ownership and enhancing public safety. By enacting these measures, the state aims to prevent unauthorized access to firearms by minors and ensure that thorough background checks are conducted for all firearm purchases. It is crucial for communities to prioritize the safety of children and take proactive measures to reduce the risks associated with firearm-related incidents.
Our experienced staff here at SSLFirearms is dedicated on staying up to date and well versed in all things pertaining to the laws relating to firearms throughout the country, not just here in Michigan. If you have any questions relating to purchasing or selling firearms, please contact us here.