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Michigan Democrats to announce gun storage bill package

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Michigan Democratic legislators said Monday that they plan to introduce a bill package designed to encourage safe firearm storage.

Sponsors said the bills would apply to gun owners who have children present in the home. They would include penalties for when unsafe storage leads to injury or death.

State Sen. Rosemary Bayer (D-Beverly Hills) said keeping kids from reaching guns would help prevent a range of incidents.

“It actually impacts firearm homicides, firearm suicides, firearm accidents,” Bayer said. “There are so many statistics that will be reduced if we could keep the guns out of the hands of kids.”

Bayer’s district includes Oxford High School, where a mass shooting took place in November when a student allegedly brought a gun from home into the building.

Bayer said the bill package would have reduced the likelihood of that shooting too, because it would require new gun owners to acknowledge that they could be held criminally responsible if something were to happen as a result of improper storage.

“Most of the time when children are involved in shootings, it’s a gun they had at home,” Bayer said.

The package will include four bills with mirrors introduced on both the Senate and House sides, according to state Rep. Mari Manoogian (D-Birmingham).

“A lot of critics will say, ‘Well, you know, why do anything because you’re never going to end gun violence completely?’ And I think that’s a ridiculous way to look at this. Essentially, why would we have any laws if it meant that we couldn’t stop violent crimes completely,” Manoogian said.

Democratic sponsors would have to get Republican support to move these bills forward. It’s unclear if that would happen, because Republican leadership has been reluctant to support stricter gun control measures in the past.

Bayer said she’s planning to push Republican Senate leadership to hold a hearing on the package during an upcoming meeting. Emailed requests for comment from Republican lawmakers were not returned.

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