Bills have strong public support, backing from MSU, Oxford and other shooting victims and families, gun safety advocates, responsible gun owners, and Oakland County officials
LANSING, Mich. (March 10, 2023) — Yesterday, the Senate Civil Rights, Judiciary and Public Safety Committee passed Senate Bill 83, sponsored by Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak), to 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. Sen. McMorrow’s bill is part of the Senate Democrats’ broader 11-bill gun violence prevention package that was passed by the committee yesterday.
“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. McMorrow. “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 with the passage of these bills out of committee, Michigan has taken the first step to enacting this critical, life-saving tool.”
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. In addition to establishing ERPOs, the legislation also requires universal background checks to close the private sale loophole and creates secure storage laws to keep legal firearms out of the hands of children and teens.
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, with Oakland County Prosecutor Karen D. McDonald and Washtenaw County Prosecutor Eli Savit both emphasizing the importance of ERPOs. Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter also submitted written testimony in support of the gun violence prevention bills.
A new Glengariff poll released last week found that 74.5 percent of respondents support passage of a law that creates red flag (ERPO) laws to allow law enforcement to temporarily take guns away from a person deemed a risk to themselves or others by a court, which Sen. McMorrow’s bill addresses. Gun owners and Republican respondents also expressed support for red flag laws. Background check laws had 87.8 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.
ERPOs allow loved ones or law enforcement to ask a court to temporarily order the removal of guns from an individual who is at risk of harming themselves or others. These laws can deescalate dangerous situations and reduce gun violence, including suicides and mass shootings, while still upholding due process in the legal system. Nineteen states and Washington, D.C. currently have Red Flag laws in place. According to Everytown for Gun Safety, Connecticut and Indiana experienced a reduction in firearm suicide rates following enactment of Extreme Risk laws.