Advance Notice: Briefs

Legislation introduced to restore adult supervision requirement for minors handling BB guns

By: - March 6, 2023 3:14 pm

Michigan Capitol | Susan J. Demas

A bill has been introduced to require that an adult be present when minors use pneumatic guns outside their own home or yard.

Introduced Thursday by Rep. Julie M. Rogers (D-Kalamazoo), House Bill 4184 would cover BB, paintball and pellet guns.

Rep. Julie Rogers (D-Kalamazoo) | Michigan House Democrats photo

“Allowing kids to use BB guns unsupervised can have life-threatening consequences,” said Rogers. “All too often, these guns are treated as toys, without regard to the dangers they pose. As with all types of guns, adult supervision for children to ensure they are following safety precautions is necessary for everyone’s well-being.”

Statistics cited by Rogers indicate nearly 10,000 Americans are injured with BB and pellet guns every year, and a majority of those injured are under the age of 18. 

Until 2015, it was a misdemeanor in Michigan for a minor to use or possess a pneumatic gun outside their home or yard unless accompanied by an adult. 

House Bill 4184 would restore the requirement for adult supervision and re-establish it as a misdemeanor violation.

Rogers, in her press release, cited a tragic incident in Kalamazoo County in 2021 when 12-year-old Deven Free was shot in the head with a BB gun while playing with other young teens. Free died of his injuries more than 14 months later. 

Rogers says her bill would restore the “commonsense requirement that kids should not be using pellet and BB guns unsupervised.”

Rogers’ bill comes as Democratic lawmakers are pushing other legislation to curb gun violence in the wake of a Feb. 13 mass shooting at Michigan State University. If passed, the 11-bill packages of legislation now making their way through the House and Senate would mandate universal background checks for all guns, require that gun owners safely store firearms that could be accessed by minors, and permit a court to order the temporary removal of firearms from someone who may be a danger to themselves or others.

Democrats are also working to pass House Bills 4127 and 4128, which would ban firearms within 100 feet of polling places, ballot drop boxes and early voting locations.

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Jon King
Jon King

Jon King has been a journalist for more than 35 years. He is the Past President of the Michigan Associated Press Media Editors Association and has been recognized for excellence numerous times, most recently in 2021 with the Best Investigative Story by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. He is also an adjunct faculty member at Cleary University. Jon and his family live in Howell, where he also serves on the Board of Directors for the Livingston Diversity Council.