LANSING — After the latest school shooting in Parkland, Fla., rocked the nation in February, the challenge of preventing gun violence and strengthening our state’s gun laws has become one of the most pressing issues facing Lansing. Although there have been multiple proposals offered, as a former Detroit police officer for more than 17 years and a teacher in Detroit Public Schools before that, state Rep. Bettie Cook Scott (D-Detroit) approaches the issue with a unique perspective.

“There is no denying that our state’s gun laws need to be strengthened; however, the difficulty is finding the right solution that balances the interests of law enforcement, educators and members of our communities,” Rep. Scott said. “It is critical that we work to both protect our men and women in blue while still ensuring the safety of our young people and their teachers. Students deserve the freedom to learn and grow in a safe environment, and parents should have the peace of mind knowing that their sons and daughters will come home after school. Unfortunately, this is not the case in our country, and something needs to change.”  

A number of proposals have been offered in the Legislature to address the issue of gun violence. Efforts to craft and advocate for legislation to address the issue have heightened since the latest school shooting in February, including discussion on bills that would arm teachers with guns in the classroom; require universal criminal background checks for all firearms purchased in the state; and allow judges to issue protective orders on individuals that law enforcement or family members assert pose a threat to themselves and their community. Rep. Scott continues to meet with members of the local community to assess the best solutions to protecting students, educators and law enforcement officers.

“As a former police officer and teacher, I understand both sides of this debate and recognize the merits of each argument,” Rep. Scott said. “Moving forward, it is critical that we engage professionals from the law enforcement community as well as our teachers and school staff to ensure we identify a meaningful solution that we can agree on, but most importantly that keeps us, our community and our young people safe.”