Legislative majority introduces bills in House and Senate
LANSING, Mich., Feb. 21, 2023 — Michigan House Democrats joined their Senate colleagues in the introduction of legislation to encourage gun safety and help prevent acts of violence like the shooting that took place last week at Michigan State University, legislative leaders announced today.
“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.
“From my first deadly gun violence experience when I was in eighth grade, to the tragedy in my hometown of Oxford and now at MSU, these tragedies keep happening. But now we have the power to make a change, and we’re going to use it,” said state Sen. Rosemary Bayer (D-West Bloomfield), co-chair of the bicameral Firearm Safety and Violence Prevention Caucus. “The package of bills we just introduced, requiring safe storage of firearms, background checks for all firearms — not just handguns, and directly confronting what to do when someone is at risk of hurting themselves or others — are all proven effective in reducing gun violence in other states. With this one set of bills, we will have a profound effect in preventing future tragedies and bloodshed.”
“As a father of three young boys, I, like many parents, fear what will happen when our kids are at school. Sadly, gun violence has plagued our country for far too long,” said state Rep. Ranjeev Puri (D-Canton). “Every person deserves to live without the fear of gun violence. The time for empty political platitudes is over. Common-sense gun reform can’t wait any longer; we must act for the people of Michigan.”
“Throughout my time in the House, I’ve fought hard to curb the gun violence epidemic that’s been plaguing our communities. The package of bills we’ve introduced takes us a step closer toward this goal,” said state Rep. Felicia Brabec (D-Pittsfield Township). “Closing the private sale loophole will ensure firearms are sold only to responsible gun owners. Mandating the responsible, safe storage of firearms will help keep children from accessing dangerous weapons. Giving people the right to intervene before violence occurs will keep us all safer. We owe it to the people of our state to pass this common-sense legislation.”
“While we are still in mourning as a community, as legislators it is long past time to take action,” said state Sen. Kevin Hertel (D-St. Clair Shores). “Requiring universal background checks for all firearms and sales helps prevent all types of gun violence. This measure is widely supported and shown to save lives—it just makes sense.”
“This past week hit hard, especially knowing every resident of the state of Michigan likely has some connection to Michigan State. While horrific events like the shooting at MSU capture the headlines, gun violence devastates lives every single day in ways that often don’t make the news,” said state Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak). “Six out every 10 gun deaths in the United States is the result of suicide, and gun violence has now become the number one killer of kids. Extreme Risk Protection Orders are proven to save lives by giving family, law enforcement officers, and judges a tool to temporarily seize firearms from those who are an immediate risk to others, or to themselves. Last week, everyone connected to MSU in any way felt the shared grief of gun violence. By enacting ERPO laws in Michigan, we can save lives and protect people from that pain and grief.”
“We must do everything we can to prevent another tragedy like the one that devastated our MSU community last week. Our children deserve to learn and go about their lives free from the threat of mass shootings,” said state Rep. Julie Brixie (D-Meridian Township). “Closing the private sale loophole, mandating safe storage and instituting red flag laws will help keep our students safe. We owe it to them to pass this legislation.”
“Sadly, the trauma of another mass shooting has devastated the people and community I serve and the university I love,” said state Sen. Sam Singh (D-East Lansing). “But these tragedies don’t have to continue unchecked, and I am committed to listening to the students that are demanding action. These bills are an initial step to better protect the lives of our fellow Michiganders.”
The bills drew support from multiple organizations, including faith leaders, community leaders and gun violence prevention advocates.
“For too long, Michigan’s leaders failed to respond to the call from their communities to enact commonsense, lifesaving legislation. It’s a new day in the Great Lakes State. Its new leaders have met the moment by stepping up and fighting to ensure that firearms don’t fall into the wrong hands,” said Peter Ambler, executive director of the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
“In the wake of another preventable mass shooting that has left a community and the whole state devastated yet again, Michigan’s elected officials are responding to the urgent demands of Michiganders,” said Kris Brown, president of the Brady Campaign. Universal background checks, extreme risk laws and safe storage laws stop gun violence before it begins, and these evidence-based solutions are proven to save lives and prevent senseless violence like the shootings at Oxford High and Michigan State University, and many other acts of violence impacting the state every day. Brady thanks and applauds Governor Whitmer, and the newly elected gun violence prevention majority, and in particular, Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks, House Speaker Joe Tate, and the bill sponsors for taking bold, sensible action to protect their communities.”
“When my son was taken by gun violence, I didn’t feel like anyone in power was listening to me. We got thoughts and prayers, but no one was willing to change the laws that enabled easy access to firearms. I’m so grateful that we’re finally being heard and our leaders are taking action,” said Mia Reid of the Charles W. Reid Community Help Center in Detroit.
“As Governor Whitmer said, the time for only thoughts and prayers is over. We’re so grateful that our elected leaders are now moving forward and taking action to pass the laws that we’ve demanded for years. We’re grateful to all of the courageous legislators who are leading on this important issue,” said Bishop Bonnie Perry of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan.
“No child should have to fear for their life at school,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “Michigan needs to pass these critical gun violence measures with expediency. Let’s show up for our children and future generations. The time is now.”
“Earlier this week I stood with my peers as we mourned the lives of students shot and killed on our campus,” said Saylor Reinders, a second year student at Michigan State University and a volunteer with Students Demand Action. “We cannot continue living like this. We thank Michigan lawmakers for standing up and introducing these critical measures. It is time to demand change.”
“This legislative package is a critical step in addressing gun violence as the public health crisis it is,” said Christin Fawcett, a volunteer with the Michigan chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We are glad to see these life saving bills being prioritized and urge legislators to move with expediency in passing this life-saving measure.”
“I applaud the Legislature for introducing this gun safety package and am proud of the role my office played in its creation. The tragic events at MSU have left people reeling and feeling hopeless. But the truth is, we are not helpless,” said Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. “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.”