LANSING, Mich., March 8, 2023 — The House Judiciary Committee, chaired by state Rep. Kelly Breen (D-Novi), met this afternoon and listened to testimony from several individuals in support of the gun violence prevention bill package recently introduced by House Democrats.
“No matter what we look like, where we come from or what’s in our wallets, we all want our families and communities to be safe,” Breen said. “The diversity of stories and accounts we heard this afternoon is proof we can find common ground and work together to give people the tools they need to act on early warning signs — and potentially save lives. Personal safety is not a partisan issue, especially when we are dealing with a public health crisis that claims lives every day.”
Aimed at curbing gun violence in the state by creating safer communities, House Bills 4145-4148 would allow courts to issue extreme risk protection orders, or ERPOs, for individuals deemed at risk of hurting themselves or others after the judge considers testimony, documents and other evidence in support of the request. Once an order is issued, law enforcement could then take temporary possession of the individual’s firearms and temporarily prohibit them from purchasing new firearms while the order remains in effect.
If passed, Michigan would become the 20th state in the nation to enact ERPO legislation.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2020 there were 45,222 firearm-related deaths in the country, which equates to about 124 people dying from a firearm-related injury each day. Gun violence also has a substantial economic impact and costs the U.S. tens of billions of dollars each year in medical and lost productivity costs.
“Our residents and their families need our support, and if we’re trying to prevent tragedies from happening, it’s imperative we have laws in place that provide all the help we can provide,” Breen added. “Together, I know we can make Michigan a place where all of us can shop in stores, attend parades and public events, drop our kids off at school, and visit places of worship without the fear of gun violence. I look forward to working with my colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, to advance this legislation through the House and Senate and then on to the governor’s desk.”
As of 2021, 19 states and the District of Columbia have enacted some form of ERPO laws, which are supported by most Americans, including gun owners. Connecticut was the first state to enact an ERPO law in 1999, followed by Indiana (2005), California (2014), Washington (2016) and Oregon (2018). After the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, 2018, Florida, Vermont, Maryland, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware, Massachusetts, Illinois and the District of Columbia enacted laws. New York, Colorado, Nevada and Hawaii passed laws in 2019. In 2020, New Mexico became the 18th state to enact such legislation, and in April 2020, Virginia became the 19th.