Detroit’s Newest Billboard Promotes Gun Safe Storage Law

Detroit is taking a stand. In a city all too familiar with the echoes of gun violence, the community is rallying together, determined to put an end to the senseless loss of life. It’s a call to action that hits home for many, sparked by the tragic stories that weave through the city’s heartbeat. The thought that a child’s life could be cut short because of an unsecured firearm left within reach—an ‘oopsie’ as some might dismiss it—is a wake-up call that’s resonating across neighborhoods. How many more bright futures must be dimmed before we say enough?

With an effort to tackle gun safety head-on, motorists traveling along I-94 near Dickerson Avenue and Harper Avenue are now greeted by a significant reminder of Michigan’s commitment to gun safety. A newly erected billboard serves as a public awareness campaign about the state’s gun safe storage law, a legislative measure that came into effect in February following persistent advocacy from gun safety proponents. The law mandates that firearms in households with children must be stored securely, utilizing mechanisms such as gun locks or safes, to prevent unintended access. This requirement holds even in instances where children are mere visitors in a home. The statute carries stringent penalties, with up to 15 years of incarceration for cases where unsecured firearms result in fatalities.

The billboard’s presence is attributed to the efforts of Physicians for the Prevention of Gun Violence, a collective of medical professionals dedicated to curbing the gun-related injuries and fatalities they frequently encounter in their line of work. Dr. Sonya Lewis, the organization’s President, emphasizes the critical role of healthcare providers in gun injury prevention. “Just as doctors routinely counsel patients about the importance of seatbelts, sunscreen, and bicycle helmets, we must also talk to our patients about firearm injury prevention. Secure storage will prevent curious toddlers from accessing firearms kept in their homes and will protect children and families from entirely avoidable deaths and injuries,” Dr. Lewis stated, underscoring the necessity of secure firearm storage.

This billboard initiative is a collaborative effort between End Gun Violence Michigan (EGVMI) and Detroit’s Lafayette American advertising agency, which has generously contributed its creative expertise towards promoting Michigan’s new gun safety regulations. The partnership aims to enhance public awareness through billboards, social media campaigns, and public service announcements. Lafayette American’s Toby Barlow expressed pride in the agency’s involvement, stating, “Our agency is proud to have donated our time and talent to this project. It’s up to all of us to do everything we can to end these completely preventable tragedies. It’s unacceptable that parents are worried their kids won’t come home safe from school every day.”

The campaign’s significance is further highlighted by recent tragic incidents, such as the heartrending death of a 5-year-old boy in Newaygo County last Monday. The young victim was accidentally shot by a 6-year-old relative who found an unsecured firearm in their grandfather’s bedroom. Such incidents underscore the urgent need for adherence to the new law, aiming to prevent similar tragedies in the future.

The question on everyone’s mind is simple yet profound: How can we better protect our children from the dangers of unsecured firearms? It’s a conversation happening at dinner tables, in schools, and on street corners. It’s personal. It’s about ensuring that a quick visit to a friend’s house or a curious exploration at home doesn’t end in tragedy. Detroit is seeking answers, not just in law and policy but in everyday actions and awareness, making sure that ‘oopsie’ never becomes a euphemism for irreversible loss.

To facilitate broader community engagement and support, EGVMI has unveiled a new website,, offering an exhaustive guide to the state’s gun safety regulations. Individuals moved by the cause are encouraged to contribute to the advertising campaign via, joining forces in the collective endeavor to shield Michigan’s children and families from the specter of gun violence. Through these concerted efforts, the campaign aspires to transform the landscape of gun safety in Michigan, turning the tide against the wave of preventable gun-related tragedies.

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