LANSING, Mich., Dec. 1, 2022 — As the anniversary of the shooting tragedy at Oxford High School approached, state Rep. Jeffery Pepper (D-Dearborn) introduced two bills today aiding in the fight against gun violence. House Bill 6544 would ban the possession and sale of assault weapons generally beginning in 2024, and House Bills 6545 and 6546 would create a ban on open carry of long firearms in public spaces, and. Rep. Pepper released the following statement regarding the bills:
“I am taking the ACTION I promised to take to ensure that this violence never happens in our communities again. We are on the heels of yet another targeted shooting in Colorado committed by an extremist with an automatic weapon — and 605 other mass shootings in 2022 alone that killed over 18,000 innocent people in the United States. Michigan has had 24 mass shootings this year, and Michiganders are rightly ANGRY. My office has been contacted all year by constituents asking WHEN and HOW we are going to take action.
“These data-backed bills are for all Michiganders but especially the most vulnerable members of our community:
- For children and teens, whose leading cause of death in this country is firearm-related injuries. In 2020, gun-related homicide became the most common cause of death for adolescents, significantly surpassing suicide.
- For pregnant women, who are statistically more likely to die of intimate partner homicide than obstetrics-related causes. Nearly 70% of these homicides involve firearms.
- For communities of color, who disproportionately face higher rates of gun violence.
“I clearly promised when I took office that gun safety — meaning keeping citizens safe from guns that have a primary purpose to kill people, safe from the lawless use of guns, and safe from guns being in the hands of people who lack the training, mental capacity or maturity to properly handle them — would be a legislative priority for me. I have always stressed that people should be free to go to the grocery store or the theater or their children’s graduations or any public space without being intimidated by the guy in camo lurking over there with an AR-15 slung across his shoulder. These bills are but the first step in making Michigan safer.
“If the federal government won’t reinstate the automatic weapons ban that drastically reduced gun violence in the ’90s, then it’s time we take it into our own hands. I look forward to hearing how new leadership in the House next term will accomplish the long-term policy goals we have all worked so hard to push forward in the minority.”