LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — The Michigan Senate committee listened to more than three hours of testimony Thursday on the possible benefits and downfalls of the passage of an 11-bill gun safety package.
“Today is a historic day. It’s been a long journey to get here,” Civil Rights, Judiciary and Public Safety Committee chair Sen. Stephanie Chang, D-Detroit, said. “Far too many lives (have been) lost to gun violence within our state and within our country. Whether it’s mass shootings or suicides or neighborhood violence or accidental deaths, clearly we have a lot of work to do.”
Within days of the shooting at Michigan State University that killed three students and injured five others, Democrats introduced bills that would implement universal background checks on all guns; safe storage laws and ‘red flag’ laws that would allow police to get court orders to confiscate guns from people who are considered a risk to themselves or the public.
“ERPOs (extreme risk protection orders) are merely a tool that can provide the pause needed to prevent violence, reduce deaths and open a window of time for mental health resources when they are needed most for both the at-risk individual and the protection of those around them,” Sen. Mallory McMorrow, D-Royal Oak, said, testifying in favor of red flag laws.
Nineteen other states already have red flag laws, as does Washington, D.C.
While most of the testimony presented Thursday was in favor of the 11-bill package, Nikki Goeser spoke out again the addition of new laws. Goeser’s husband was shot and killed in front of her in April 2009.
“There are currently involuntary commitment laws that already exist in every state in this nation, people just need to use them,” she said.
Family members of both the 2021 Oxford High School shooting and the MSU shooting testified.
“This was never a political problem, it’s a people problem,” Reina St. Juliana, whose sister Hana was shot and killed during the Oxford shooting, said tearfully. “You’re decades late, you’re thousands of lives late. But now is better than later.”
The committee hearing was adjourned due to time constraints. Testimony was scheduled to continue next week.