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 9, 2023) — Today, the Senate Civil Rights, Judiciary and Public Safety Committee passed Senate Bill 77, sponsored by Sen. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield), to require universal background checks to close the private sale loophole. Sen. Moss’s bill is part of the Senate Democrats’ broader 11-bill gun violence prevention package that was passed by the committee today.
“Almost seven years ago, I joined with a handful of legislators to establish a Gun Violence Prevention Caucus in the Legislature to put forward solutions that would prevent gun deaths and injuries in Michigan. In the successive years, the previous majority failed to act, even as communities in Michigan suffered in the aftermath of mass shootings and everyday gun violence. Today, our new majority is moving with urgency to save lives,” Sen. Moss said. “My bill in the legislation to strengthen background checks is supported by 88 percent of Michiganders recently surveyed. Senate Democrats are ready to enact the laws the public demands and safe communities require. We deserve to thrive without fear.”
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 universal background checks, the legislation creates child access protection laws to keep legal firearms securely stored and out of the hands of children and teens. The bills also will 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.
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 Oakland County Prosecutor Karen D. McDonald and a number of county prosecutors also spoke in support of the bills. Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter submitted written testimony in support of the gun violence prevention bills.
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, which Sen. Moss’s bill addresses. The poll found that 85.5 percent of gun owners support background checks and 77.8 percent of Republican gun owners support background checks. Red flag (ERPO) laws had 74.5 percent support in the poll, and safe storage (child access protection) had 79.8 percent support.
Closing loopholes that allow the acquisition of firearms for criminal purposes will benefit all Michiganders. This legislation ensures that background checks are required for all firearms sales to reduce gun violence, save lives and keep our communities safe. Background checks for all firearm sales are a common-sense way to keep guns out of the wrong hands.
After Connecticut adopted universal background checks in their licensing law, there was a 40 percent drop in gun homicides and a 15 percent drop in gun suicides. Studies show that 84 percent of voters, including 83 percent of gun owners, support requiring all gun purchasers to go through a background check.