Three-bill package creates requirement for universal background checks


LANSING, Mich., March 8, 2023 — The Michigan House of Representatives took action today to make communities around the state safer by passing the first of several bills aimed at preventing gun violence. House Bills 4138, 4142 and 4143 establish the requirement for background checks on all gun sales in Michigan.

“I am proud to work alongside my colleagues to strengthen gun violence prevention measures and to ensure communities across our state will be a safer place to live in,” said state Rep. Jaime Churches (D-Wyandotte), sponsor of HB 4138. “It is hard to face the uncomfortable truth of gun violence in our country, but we cannot stop making an effort to prevent more tragedies from occurring.”

Current Michigan law requires background checks for all handgun sales, but long guns such as rifles and shotguns are not subject to the requirement. HBs 4138, 4142 and 4143 amend the state’s firearms law, the Michigan Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure, respectively, to ensure that all firearm sales are subject to a background check.

“As someone whose family has been a victim of the uniquely American problem of gun violence, I believe it was time we passed these commonsense gun reform bills,” said state Rep. Brenda Carter (D-Pontiac), sponsor of HB 4142. “By passing these bills, we ensure our communities are safer, and that we can keep guns out of the hands of bad actors. Universal background checks on all gun purchases, while it may seem like an inconvenience, will help to provide safer communities and prevent more tragedies from occurring.”

These bills are just the first action House Democrats plan to take to address the public health crisis of gun violence. While no single change in law or regulation will solve the issue of gun violence, House Democrats are committed to taking thoughtful, reasonable steps to keep firearms out of the hands of those who pose a threat to themselves or others.

“Passing this legislation today for universal background checks is a huge step forward — this bill will help keep people, including minors and felons, from accessing guns illegally,” said state Rep. Kristian Grant (D-Grand Rapids), sponsor of HB 4143. “There needs to be a culture shift in how we think about and respond to gun violence in our state and the country. Today, we started the momentum to create that shift. Today, we worked to set in place safeguards to better protect our kids, our schools and our neighborhoods.”