Bills have strong public support, backing from MSU, Oxford and other shooting victims and families, gun safety advocates, responsible gun owners, and law enforcement officials
LANSING, Mich. (March 9, 2023) — Today, the Senate Civil Rights, Judiciary and Public Safety Committee voted to pass the Senate Democrats’ 11-bill gun violence prevention package to establish universal background checks, Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO) and child access protection laws.
“As we have heard in five and a half hours of powerful committee testimony over the past two weeks, gun violence has taken far too many lives, shattered families and scarred communities,” said Sen. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit), Chair of the Senate Civil Rights, Judiciary and Public Safety Committee. “My colleagues and I have been working alongside our fellow Michiganders—students, parents, advocates, law enforcement, lawyers and others—to craft and promote common-sense gun violence prevention policies. When we enact these safe storage, extreme risk protection order, and universal background check laws, Michigan will save lives and make our communities safer.”
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 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 take temporary possession of a firearm if the court finds that an individual is at risk of harming themselves or others (Senate Bills 83-86).
“I was excited to see these necessary bills pass out of committee,” said Sen. Rosemary Bayer (D-West Bloomfield), sponsor of SB 79 and co-chair of the Firearm Safety and Violence Prevention Caucus. “It was moving to see the heart–wrenching testimony of so many survivors, and to hear the knowledge and expert testimony of our medical and law enforcement professionals. I look forward to seeing these bills pass on the floor!”
“I am grateful to see this package pass out of committee today,” said Sen. Kevin Hertel (D-St. Clair Shores), sponsor of SB 76. “Universal background checks are widely supported measures across party lines and geographic regions. They strengthen our ability to enforce existing laws and keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them.”
Over the past two weeks, the committee heard supportive testimony on the legislative package from a number of gun violence victims and family members, including students and parents from Michigan State University, as well as advocacy groups. Attorney General Dana Nessel and a number of county prosecutors also spoke in support of the bills.
“While horrific events like mass shootings impact all of us as they dominate the headlines—there are far too many Michiganders suffering the trauma of gun violence every day, especially as it relates to suicide,” said Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak). “In many cases of suicide or threats against others, there are warning signs ahead of time—signs that family and loved ones too often see, but don’t have the ability to intervene. Extreme Risk Protection Orders can and do save lives—by creating a tool to temporarily remove firearms from those who are demonstrably an immediate risk to themselves or others. And today—with the passage of these bills out of committee—Michigan has taken the first step to enacting this critical, life-saving tool.”
A new Glengariff poll released last week 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.