Bills will establish universal background checks, child access protection, and Emergency Response Protection Orders, which all have strong, widespread support
LANSING, Mich. (March 16, 2023) — Today, the Michigan Senate Democrats took a strong stance on preventing gun violence and saving lives, passing their 11-bill gun violence prevention package to establish universal background checks, Extreme Risk Protection Orders, and child access protection laws.
“Too many Michiganders have been impacted by gun violence, from the multiple times I personally experienced it growing up to the MSU students from Oxford who have now survived two school shootings in as many years,” said Sen. Rosemary Bayer (D-West Bloomfield). “This is some of the most important legislation we will ever vote on. Today, we finally did what our constituents and people across Michigan have been demanding for us to do for years.”
The gun violence prevention bills were introduced by Senate Democrats to encourage gun safety and help prevent acts of violence like the shootings at Michigan State University on Feb. 13, and Oxford High School on Nov. 30, 2021. The bills will:
Require universal background checks to close the private sale loophole (Senate Bills 76-78);
Create child access protection laws to keep legal firearms safely and securely stored and out of the hands of children and teens (Senate Bills 79-82); and
Allow a court to issue an “Extreme Risk Protection Order” (ERPO) to temporarily intervene to suspend a person’s access to firearms if they show clear warning signs of violence and pose an immediate threat to themselves or others (Senate Bills 83-86).
“I truly believe there is room for all people and all political persuasions to come to the table and work together to solve the problem of gun violence,” said Sen. Kevin Hertel (D-St. Clair Shores). “Background checks are widely supported measures across party lines. They save lives, they keep guns out of the hands of those who should not have them, and they are good public health and safety measures. I am grateful they are now one step closer to becoming law.”
Over the years and at recent rallies and committee hearings the past month, these bills have had widespread support from gun violence victims and family members, including students and parents from Michigan State University and Oxford High School, and former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords, who also was in the Senate gallery for today’s important action. The legislation also has the backing of state and national advocacy groups, education groups, responsible gun owners and law enforcement officials, including Attorney General Dana Nessel, county prosecutors from Genesee, Kalamazoo, Oakland, and Washtenaw counties, Genesee County Sheriff Christopher Swanson, and more.
“From families in my district and around the state, there are numerous heartbreaking stories that could have had a different ending, and numerous lives that could have been saved with Extreme Risk Protection Orders,” said Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak). “Red flags laws create a preventative tool, a stopgap for loved ones, judges, and law enforcement. And while it is difficult to measure ‘events that did not happen,’ evidence shows that these extreme risk protection orders can and do reduce gun deaths, especially those by suicide.”
A new Glengariff poll released recently found that 87.8 percent of Michigan respondents support passage of a law requiring any person purchasing any type of gun from anyone else to go through a background check. Red flag (ERPO) laws had 74.5 percent support in the poll, and safe storage (child access protection) had 79.8 percent support. Some of the proposals had as high as 85.5 percent support of gun owners and 77.8 percent support of Republican gun owners.
“The action the Michigan Senate took today will save lives,” Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) said. “These bills are years in the making, waiting for the Legislature to finally have a gun violence prevention majority. That time is now. Today, I asked my Senate colleagues to summon the courage and heart that the students of MSU and Oxford were forced to have on those days when gun violence ripped through their communities. I’m proud that we answered the call and delivered for Michigan’s young people.”