Man Faces Charges Under Michigan’s Gun Storage Law After 2-year-old Girl Shoots Self

A Michigan man, whose 2-year-old daughter shot herself in the head with his revolver last week, became the first person charged under the state’s new legislation requiring safe gun storage, only days after it went into effect as part of a broad revision of the state’s gun restrictions.

According to John Potbury, Genesee County’s deputy chief assistant prosecutor, Michael Tolbert, 44, of Flint, was arraigned on Monday on nine felony counts, including one count each of first-degree child abuse and violating Michigan’s firearms storage legislation.

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According to Potbury, Tolbert’s daughter from the incident on February 14 was still in critical condition at the hospital as of Wednesday. The day after Michigan’s new safe storage gun law went into effect, the small girl shot herself.

Tolbert entered a not-guilty plea on Monday. According to Potbury, Tolbert is also charged with four counts of felonies related to firearms, one count each of felonies related to ammunition and firearms, and lying to a peace officer during a violent crime investigation.

He claimed that because Tolbert has numerous felony convictions involving firearms and drug offenses, he is prohibited from owning firearms and ammo. Online court records show that Tolbert was being held at the Genesee County Jail on a $250,000 bond.

He was the first individual accused of breaking the statute, which went into effect on February 13, the day after a gunman entered a Michigan State University classroom. He killed two students while gravely wounding another.

Man Faces Charges Under Michigan's Gun Storage Law After 2-year-old Girl Shoots Self

A week after a Michigan jury found the mother of the gunman guilty of involuntary manslaughter, the law went into force, making her the first parent in the United States to be held accountable for a child carrying out a mass school shooting.

Gun accessibility was a problem during the trial, and investigators claim James Crumbley and Jennifer Crumbley neglected to secure the gun appropriately. Next month, James Crumbley will go on trial for the same offense related to the Oxford High School massacre in 2021 that claimed the lives of four students.

Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton stated at a news conference Tuesday announcing the charges against Tolbert that the law “went into effect one week ago today.” This incident happened the day after it happened.

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Tolbert brought the girl to the hospital, and after that, Flint police received word of the incident. Police discovered a semiautomatic pistol and the revolver used in the shooting in the man’s bedroom.

They were both loaded and unfastened. According to the police, there were no safes or gun locks in the bedroom.

The probable cause conference for Tolbert is scheduled for February 29. Tolbert will be paired with a public defense, according to a court staffer, but calls should be made to the county’s top public defender.

If Tolbert is found guilty of failing to store his firearms safely, Potbury stated that he might face an enhanced sentence of up to life in prison since he is a persistent criminal.

In addition, Tolbert stated that if found guilty of the first-degree child abuse accusation, he may spend the rest of his life behind bars.

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