GRAND RAPIDS, Feb. 14, 2023 — State Rep. Phil Skaggs (D-Grand Rapids) issued the following statement after the shooting at Michigan State University, where three MSU students were murdered and five were left in critical condition: 


“This morning, across our state, Michiganders are mourning the lost lives of three of our young people, murdered on the campus of Michigan State University. My deepest condolences go out to the parents, friends and loved ones of the souls taken from us in the prime of their lives. My heart goes out to the survivors and the entire MSU community.


“Last night, students fled in terror from gunshots and saw classmates murdered in places where they should have been able to study and meet with their friends in peace. In Michigan and across the country, worried parents made desperate calls, searched for phone locations and prayed for their children. Some of those parents never received a call or text back. Their children are dead.


“We do not need to live like this. We should not have to fear for our lives when we are in schools, places of worship, workplaces, stores, at parades or on campuses. We should not have to wonder if today will be the day a massacre like this strikes our community.


“For too long, we have largely ignored the main cause of the gun violence crisis in America. We have done something ranging from prudent to ineffective. We have improved our mental health systems. We have implemented traumatizing active-shooter drills. We have created a marketplace for bulletproof backpacks for elementary students. We have built largely cosmetic systems to ‘harden’ our schools. The time has come to deal with what we all know is true — we cannot deal with the gun violence crisis in America without passing real, common-sense gun reform, immediately.


“Since the beginning of my campaign for office, I have supported reforms such as requiring universal background checks, safe storage laws, passing extreme risk protection order laws, prohibiting large-capacity magazines, limiting the open carrying of assault weapons in public, and renewing the prohibition on the manufacture, sale, and transfer of assault rifles. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Legislature, the governor, law enforcement and all other stakeholders to help build a safer Michigan. I can’t promise that we are going to fix this. But, I do believe that if we break the chokehold of the gun lobby on our politics, we can find ways to lessen the number of future murders and save lives.


“I want to thank our law enforcement officers who worked to secure the campus and protect the community, as well as other first responders and medical professionals who are working to save the lives of those wounded.


“I am praying for those fighting for their lives in the hospital at this moment, and for those who grieve the loss of their loved ones and friends.”


State Representative Phil Skaggs is serving his first term representing the 80th House District, comprising the cities of Kentwood, East Grand Rapids, Cascade Township, and parts of the city of Grand Rapids and Grand Rapids Township. Prior to coming to the House, Skaggs worked in public service on the Kent County Commission and the East Grand Rapids City Commission.


Go to Rep. Skaggs’ website to learn more about him and House District 80.