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Should We Punish Parents If Their Kid Uses their Gun for a Crime?

“This isn’t about your gun. This is about kids' safety.”

A new bill being introduced is looking to place some onus on parents if their minor children use one of their guns to commit a crime. Michigan House Representative Elissa Slotkin just introduced legislation that aims to reduce gun access to kids on a federal level.

According to Romper, the new legislation was introduced on December 15 and if it passes, it will ensure that gun owners must have firearms stored away securely and kept safe from children. Titled the Safe Guns Safe Kids Act, the new legislation comes soon after a shooting at Oxford High School where four students were killed and seven others injured just outside Detroit, Michigan. The 15-year-old student suspected as the shooter had access to his parents’ gun, and they’ve been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter.

“Over the past two weeks of church services, vigils and funerals, and visits with parents, teachers, and law enforcement in Oxford, one thing is clear: everyone just wants to keep our kids safe,” Slotkin wrote on Twitter. “But while an apparent mountain of evidence allows the parents, in this case, to be charged, there’s actually nothing in Michigan or federal law that holds parents accountable for aiding their child in committing a crime.”

If passed, the legislation would see that parents receive a penalty of up to five years in prison if their child uses a gun to injure themselves or others or commits a crime.

“My bill is a serious effort to address a safety issue that is taking American lives,” Slotkin wrote. “This goes for the shooter in Oxford, as well as the thousands of instances where kids have stolen guns for crime or have accidentally harmed or killed others with a family member’s gun. Ensuring that firearms are properly stored, and not left to fall into the hands of those who could use them for violence or crime is essential.”

The bill is something parents and advocates have been asking for a long while. Some sort of gun control legislation that will keep kids safe – both in the home and schools. If guns themselves cannot be regulated, then the storage of them could be. However, as Romper reports, it’s not clear on if the legislation will garner enough support in Congress to pass. Gun rights advocates have been strongly against any legislation that may infringe on their rights to own guns.

However, Slotkin is hoping her legislation will find support on both sides of the aisle. “This isn’t about your gun,” Slotkin said to Fox 2 Detroit. “This is about kids’ safety.”