LANSING — On Wednesday, Michigan House Democrats joined their Senate colleagues in introducing legislation to encourage gun safety and help prevent acts of violence like the shooting that took place last week at Michigan State University.
“Gun violence has touched the lives of countless Americans. I personally have family members who have been the victims of gun violence and the impact of that violence reverberates for a lifetime,” said House Speaker Joe Tate (D-Detroit). “As elected leaders, it is our responsibility to do what we can to help keep our kids and our communities safe, and that means taking action on common-sense gun reforms. This is not a political issue; it is a public health emergency. The majority of Michiganders support common-sense gun reforms and it is our duty to advance reasonable policy changes that align with the priorities of our constituents.”
“Our majority for the people includes kids, too,” said Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids). “And far too many of them have experienced devastating grief, fear, trauma and loss from gun violence. Today’s announcement is a commitment that the legislature will move swiftly to pass effective, commonsense measures that have broad support across our state. We will meet this moment with the leadership and action that our kids deserve.”
The bills introduced in the House parallel those that Senate Democrats put forward last week. The 11 bills fall into three main categories: Requiring universal background checks to close the private sale loophole; creating secure storage laws to keep legal firearms out of the hands of children and teens and establishing extreme risk protection orders, also known as “red flag laws”, which allow the courts to temporarily remove firearms from those who pose a threat to themselves or others.
“I applaud the legislature for introducing this gun safety package and am proud of the role my office played in its creation,” said Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. “The tragic events at MSU have left people reeling and feeling hopeless. But the truth is, we are not helpless. Michiganders spoke up in November and elected a Democratic-led legislature who is committed to tackling the epidemic of gun violence. This legislation will undoubtedly save lives and make Michigan a safer place for the 10 million residents who choose to call our great state home.”
“The time for only thoughts and prayers is over,” Governor Whitmer said in a statement.
“As the Spartan community and Michiganders across the state heal after the horrific campus shooting last week, I am grateful to my partners in the legislature for turning pain into purpose and introducing commonsense gun safety legislation to enact universal background checks, safe storage laws and extreme risk protection orders.
“Addressing gun violence is a top public safety priority. No student should have to look over their shoulder when they’re walking on campus. No family should have to worry about making it home after a trip to the grocery store or church. No Michigander should live in fear.
“We are in a unique position to get something done, and together, I know we will.”
A poll commissioned by the Detroit Regional Chamber from the Glengariff Group and conducted last November and December shows that a sizeable majority of Michiganders support commonsense gun violence prevention measures.
- 90 percent support background checks, including 92 percent of independents and nearly 80 percent of Republicans
- 74 percent support extreme risk protections orders, or “red flag” laws, including 80 percent of independents
- 63 percent support safe storage laws, including 68 percent of independents
- Gun safety legislation was the top priority for independent and Democratic voters