Arrest Made Day After Gun Storage Law Takes Effect

Michael Tolbert of Michigan was charged after his 2-year-old daughter shot herself
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2024 6:20 PM CST
Man Charged After Daughter, 2, Shoots Herself
This photo provided by the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office shows Michael Tolbert.   (Genesee County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

A Flint, Michigan, man whose 2-year-old daughter accidentally shot herself in the face with his handgun has become the first person to be charged under the state's new safe storage of firearms law. Michael Tolbert's daughter Skye McBride shot herself on Valentine's Day and is still in critical condition, CBS News reports. The shooting happened just one day after the new law took effect, reports the Detroit News. The law requires residents to store firearms locked and unloaded if it is "reasonably known" that a minor will be present. Police say that after Tolbert took his daughter to the hospital, they found two guns in his bedroom, where there were no gun locks or safes.

Penalties under the new law range from up to 93 days in prison if a minor exhibits an improperly stored firearm in a "careless, reckless, or threatening manner" to up 15 years in prison if a minor fires the gun and kills themself or somebody else. Tolbert, 44, has also been charged with first-degree child abuse, being a felon in possession of a firearm, being a felon in possession of ammunition, lying to a police officer, and four counts of felony firearm. Prosecutors say Tolbert is barred from owning guns because he has multiple firearms-related felony convictions and drug-related convictions, the AP reports.

The safe storage law, part of a sweeping reform of gun legislation that followed a mass shooting at Michigan State University last year, was co-sponsored by Democratic state Sen. Kristen McDonald Rivet. "Now that we have this in place, it was our goal to be able to give prosecutors tools, because with this right comes an extraordinary responsibility," she said, per the News. "I did not ever dream that within days of the law going into effect, we would need it, but here we are." (More gun laws stories.)

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