House, Senate Dems Back Gun Safety Legislation to Protect Communities

LANSING, Mich. — A coalition of Michigan House and Senate Democrats announced legislation at a press conference today that would create extreme risk protection orders, or ERPOs, as a critical first step toward curbing gun violence in the state. House Bills 4283-4285 and Senate Bills 156-158 would allow judges to issue protective orders for individuals when law enforcement or family members prove they pose a clear and present risk of harm to themselves, or others.

Sen. Erika Geiss (D–Taylor) sponsored Senate Bill 157 in the package, which would prohibit an individual from purchasing a firearm if an ERPO has been issued.

“This legislation gives our judicial system and law enforcement personnel a method to help people in times of need, and to protect our communities and officers from violence,” Sen. Geiss said.

For a judge to issue an extreme risk protection order, the court would have to consider testimony, documents and other evidence in support of the request, including whether the person had previously inflicted, or threatened to inflict, personal injury or harm to others, and any other facts the court deems relevant. Once an order is issued, law enforcement could then take temporary possession of the individual’s firearm, and the individual would be prohibited from purchasing new firearms while the order remains in effect.

“Commonsense measures, such as this legislation, are critical to helping us protect individuals’ second amendment rights while simultaneously providing important enforcement tools for the men and women tasked with protecting and serving our communities, schools, and families,” Sen. Geiss said.

Currently, eleven states have ERPO laws in place. Connecticut and Indiana have long-standing laws that allow law enforcement to petition courts to temporarily remove an individual’s access to firearms. Additionally, a 14-year analysis of the law’s effect in Connecticut estimated that for every 10 to 20 risk warrants served, one suicide was prevented.

Joining the legislators at the press conference were Jared Burkhart with the Michigan Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and Emily Durbin, Michigan chapter leader for Moms Demand Action.

Others who sponsored bills, and who were in attendance, included Rep. Robert Wittenberg (D–Huntington Woods), chair of the Gun Violence Prevention Caucus who led the group in developing the legislation alongside members of law enforcement, medical professionals and community stakeholders; Rep. Julie Brixie (D–Meridian Twp.); Sen. Rosemary Bayer (D–Beverly Hills); and, Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D–Royal Oak).

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