Legislation strengthens domestic violence protections by keeping guns out of the hands of convicted abusers
LANSING, Mich., Nov. 1, 2023 — With bipartisan support, he House of Representatives passed House Bill 4945, Senate Bills 471 and 528 today to prohibit individuals convicted of domestic violence from using and possessing firearms and ammunition for a period of years after their conviction.
“It has been a long road to get here and finally get these bills passed out of the House,” said state Rep. Amos O’Neal (D-Saginaw), sponsor of HB 4945. “It only makes sense that we implement this legislation for those with a history of violent criminal behavior. I want to thank the families that have stepped forward to drive this change. They may never be able to get their loved one back, but they can know that the grief they have felt and carry provides the strength and bravery to stand up, speak out and enact change. We are one step closer to getting these bills across the finish line and signed into law.”
Statistics have shown that 1 in 4 homicides in the United States is related to domestic violence. Michigan already has laws in place banning felons from owning guns for a period of time after conviction; these convictions include violent crimes like rape, murder and armed robbery. Most domestic violence crimes are classified as misdemeanors, which allow those convicted of domestic violence the continued opportunity to access a deadly weapon. These bills address that gap in legislation and will also partially align Michigan with the current federal standards.
“I’m proud to have worked with Representative O’Neal and Senator Shink on this critical issue. Women who are domestic violence victims are five times more likely to be killed by their abuser if that person has a firearm, “said state Sen. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit), sponsor of SB 471. “Too many lives have been senselessly lost to gun and domestic violence. These bills are so close to the finish line and I look forward to them being on the governor’s desk.”
Thirty-one other states have passed laws designed to protect women, children and other survivors of domestic violence by ensuring convicted misdemeanor domestic abusers cannot access, own or possess firearms.
“I am happy to see these important bills move forward,” said state Sen. Sue Shink (D-Northfield Twp.), sponsor of SB 528. “With today’s vote I feel more confident in the success and impact of this legislation. My bill will expand the scope of protection for more Michiganders by making it clear when a person is convicted of domestic violence, after which they will not be able to possess firearms for a period of years.”