GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — When the Michigan Legislature returns to work next week, new gun bills will be in play.
Democrats’ bills would implement universal background checks on all guns, not just handguns; safe storage laws and ‘red flag’ laws that would allow police to get court orders to confiscate guns from people deemed an extreme risk. The package was introduced following the shooting at Michigan State University that killed three students and injured five others.
Democrats hold majorities in both chambers, so they could go it alone to push the legislation through. Rep. John Fitzgerald, D-Wyoming, said he hopes that won’t be the case.
“I’m hopeful that we will have bipartisan support on these bills,” he said. “Polling demonstrates that two-thirds, if not slightly more, of Michiganders are ready for a safer Michigan, are in support of these measures.”
Fitzgerald said the goal is to keep guns from those who should not have them.
“These bills … I hope will address the need to promote firearm safety, to promote responsible firearm ownership, and to create a safer, more nurturing Michigan for the next generation of children and students,” he said.
Republicans suggest the bills would not prevent any violence.
“My hope is that the majority of the Democrats actually take time in the committee hearings to try to work through on what’s actually enforceable instead of us creating a bunch of new laws that you won’t have certain prosecutors enforce anyway,” Senate Minority Leader Aric Nesbitt, R-Lawton, said. “I think doing something that doesn’t solve the problem is just as bad as doing nothing.”
He suggested federal law already requires background checks on all guns and that another measure to create a registry of every gun in the state would simply create more paperwork rather than solving any problems.