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Published on April 12, 2024
Michigan Ramps Up Gun Safety with Free Lock Distribution Amid New Secure Storage LawSource: Missvain, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In a move heralded by advocates for gun safety, the Michigan State Police (MSP) and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) have launched a program to distribute free gun locks throughout the state. The initiative follows the recent enactment of Michigan's secure storage law, and aims to decrease incidents of unintended firearm injuries, especially among children.

With the law's February roll-out necessitating guns to be unloaded and locked when not attended, the MSP and MDHHS made a united announcement that 75,000 gun locks are now up for grabs at no cost to the public. According to Michigan Advance, DHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel remarked, "The gun locks will help to save lives across the state," and "every child deserves safety." The substantial effort, placed in the hands of local DHHS offices, was orchestrated with a dedicated $500,000 state budget appropriation.

Amid growing concern over gun-related deaths which have become the leading cause of mortality for U.S. children and teens, as reported by the Detroit Free Press, the recent tragic events in Michigan have added urgency to the initiative. The legislation, spawned from the deadly Oxford High School shooting, seeks to hold firearm owners accountable. Should a minor injure themselves or others using an improperly secured firearm, the owner could face serious felony charges.

In promoting the program, MSP Director Col. James Grady declared, "It is a gun owner’s responsibility, a homeowner’s responsibility to make sure that they properly secure the weapon," in a news conference quoted by WWJ Newsradio. This campaign, underscored by the urgency of keeping children from inadvertent harm, is a direct response to recent local tragedies, such as the accidental shooting involving a Flint toddler just a day before the secure storage law went into effect.

Michigan residents looking to obtain free gun locks can now do so at participating MDHHS county offices, a befitting effort to help mitigate the tragic consequences of firearms falling into the hands of children. Michigan State Police posts are also providing gun locks immediately, "No questions asked," states Lori Dougovito, an MSP spokesperson, underlining the state's commitment to preventing future firearm mishaps.