GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Following a deadly shooting at Michigan State University, lawmakers sent messages of sympathy and called for action.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered that all U.S. and Michigan flags within the State Capitol Complex and on all public buildings and grounds across the state be lowered to half-staff Tuesday to remember the three victims, whose names have not yet been released to the public.
Whitmer said she spoke with President Joe Biden Monday night.
“We must act, and we will, but today let’s hold the MSU and East Lansing communities close. Let’s think of the families and friends of those who have lost, those fighting for their lives and the countless Michiganders whose lives are forever changed by (Monday’s) shooting. We will get through this together and we will do it with the full support of the state of Michigan and the U.S. federal government,” Whitmer said during Tuesday’s news conference.
Attorney General Dana Nessel is a parent of two MSU students. In a Tuesday interview, she said both of her kids were able to shelter safely during the shooting.
“Everyone knew somebody who was on campus last night, right? If you live in the state of Michigan, you know someone who’s at Michigan State University, whether they are a faculty member or a student or someone else who works there somebody who lives nearby,” Nessel said.
“We don’t have to live like this. You know, this gun culture that we live in is insane. There’s absolutely no way to explain it and there’s no excuse for it. And I’m tired of seeing people who are in positions of legal authority and policymakers act as though there isn’t anything we can do and we just have to accept society this way. No, we don’t,” she said.
Nessel said her office has been working with the legislature to review some proposed weapons laws like the safe and secure storage bill and universal background checks.
“I think that this is just going to accelerate the rate at which we see introduction and likely passage of these bills,” said Nessel.
President Joe Biden released the following statement:
“Jill and I are praying for the three students killed and the five students fighting for their lives after last night’s shooting at Michigan State University. Our hearts are with these young victims and their families, the broader East Lansing and Lansing communities, and all Americans across the country grieving as the result of gun violence.
“Last night, I spoke to Governor Whitmer and directed the deployment of all necessary federal law enforcement to support local and state response efforts. I assured her that we would continue to provide the resources and support needed in the weeks ahead.
“Too many American communities have been devastated by gun violence. I have taken action to combat this epidemic in America, including a historic number of executive actions and the first significant gun safety law in nearly 30 years, but we must do more.
“The fact that this shooting took place the night before this country marks five years since the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, should cause every American to exclaim “enough” and demand that Congress take action.
“As I said in my State of the Union address last week, Congress must do something and enact commonsense gun law reforms, including requiring background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, closing loopholes in our background check system, requiring safe storage of guns, and eliminating immunity for gun manufacturers who knowingly put weapons of war on our streets. Action is what we owe to those grieving today in Michigan and across America.”
U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich, released the following statement:
“Once again, gun violence has touched a Michigan community.
“I am grieving for my fellow Spartans today — for the lives lost, the injured, and all of the students, parents, MSU employees, and local residents who will be living with fear for a long time to come. I am grateful too for the first responders who put their own lives on the line to keep people safe.
“Spartans are strong and resilient – I know that the university and community will come together and get through this. I’m so incredibly sad and angry that they have to.”U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.
U.S. Sen. Gary Peters released the following statement:
“Colleen and I are heartbroken by the horrific shooting at Michigan State University. We’re grieving for those who lost loved ones in this nightmare and are praying for those who were injured. We’re thinking of the students, parents, staff, Spartan community — and all impacted by this tragedy. I’m also thankful to the law enforcement and first responders who rushed to the scene.”U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich.
State Senate majority leader Winnie Brinks, D-Grand Rapids, spoke with News 8 in a Tuesday interview.
“We do know there are things we can do legislatively that have broad support among our constituents both Democrats and Republicans as well as gun owners and non-gun owners. So, there are things that we can do to prevent gun violence and we simply cannot have a legislature that continues to ignore these issues and under our leadership we will not have a legislature that ignores this conversation,” she said.
State Sen. Aric Nesbitt, R-Porter Township, released the following statement:
“As a parent, you shudder at the very possibility of having to endure the distinct fear, pain, and helplessness that the Spartan community experienced last night. Unfortunately, these unimaginable and irrational acts of evil have become more commonplace in our society, leaving parents and community leaders desperately searching for ways to prevent these senseless attacks on the innocent. It is my hope that we can come together to find and develop solutions to keep our loved ones safe. My heart breaks for the victims and their families, and I pray they find comfort in the loving embrace of their family and friends.”Sen. Aric Nesbitt, R-Porter Township
State Sen. Mark Huizenga, R-Walker, released the following statement:
“As a parent, your greatest fear is losing one of your children. I am heartbroken for the victims of this senseless act of violence, and my thoughts are with their families and friends during this time of unimaginable grief. We need to work together on effective solutions to end this violence in our communities and especially at our schools.
“My office has two interns, Spencer and Henry, who are current MSU students. I am thankful to announce that they are safe, yet I ask for people to pray for them, the MSU community, and the broader East Lansing community as they immediately face the loss of innocent lives and begin to deal with the long-term mental impact of this traumatic event.”Sen. Mark Huizenga, R-Walker
State Rep. Kristian Grant, D-Grand Rapids, issued a statement that, in part, read:
“After yet another tragedy at the hands of gun violence, it is once again painfully clear that we cannot, and will not, wait any longer to take action.
“It is time to strengthen background checks, it is time to ban assault weapons, and it is time to take guns out of the hands of those who pose a threat to others or themselves.”Rep. Kristian Grant, D-Grand Rapids
State Rep. Angela Rigas, R-Caledonia, issued a statement that read:
“Unlike some of my Democrat colleagues who would like us to turn away from faith during this trying time, my thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the tragic shooting at Michigan State University because it’s the decent and human thing to do.
“I’m angry and disgusted at this violence in our state. My anger also lies with our state’s heartless elected officials who are already trying to take full advantage of this tragedy. Even as this nightmare was unfolding last night, some politicians only saw it as an opportunity to make a pitch for so-called “gun control” measures. This type of callousness has no place in our society, and neither does the violence that has exploded in our state and country.
“These types of laws never work due to the simple fact that criminals tend not to follow the law. Law-abiding gun owners are negatively impacted though. For example, students and staff are not allowed to possess or use any firearm on MSU’s campus. Those students in Berkey Hall and the Union were unable to defend themselves when the suspect opened fire.
“We must have a thoughtful discussion on how to stop violence in our state and nation, but eroding our Second Amendment rights is not the answer. The craven opportunists need to stop looking at these tragedies as a means to an end and have a real discussion about why we’re seeing such senseless violence. I believe it’s a discussion many of my colleagues would rather not have.”Rep. Angela Rigas, R-Caledonia
State Rep. Carol Glanville, D-Walker, issued the following statement:
“I can barely find words to express what I am feeling about the mass shooting on MSU’s campus last night. I am angry, frustrated and, more than anything, I feel deep sympathy for all those affected — my heart is with the students, their families, university faculty and staff, and the entire Spartan community. As a prior educator and as the chair of the Higher Education Committee, I know it is not only important but absolutely necessary that we take active measures to ensure that institutions of learning are safe places for learning and growth. I am more committed than ever to engender that safety via broadly-supported, data-driven, common-sense gun reform.”Rep. Carol Glanville, D-Walker
State Rep. Julie M. Rogers, D-Kalamazoo, issued the following statement:
“Heartbroken is not a strong enough word to describe how I feel after the devastating violence inflicted upon the campus of Michigan State University. It is absolutely disturbing that, as a nation, we are continuing to let this happen. Time and time again, including in my own district, without warning and with regularity, the peace of our communities is broken by senseless violence.
“The freedom to kill should not be more important than the freedom to live and learn in peace. We deserve to live a life free from the terror of mass casualties and daily gun violence. As legislators, we have a responsibility to protect our communities and do something when tragedy strikes. This time, and once again, far too close to home.
“As a member of the Michigan Firearm Safety and Violence Prevention Caucus, I can tell you that several proactive policies will be introduced — and I intend to call on all my colleagues to take decisive action to prevent future tragedies. We must take concrete steps to prevent future violence. If we can’t act now, then when? When will it finally be enough to do something? Our young adults and our communities have waited too long and have seen nothing but endless talk and platitudes. That time is over, and we will begin the work to prevent future tragedies in all our communities.”Rep. Julie M. Rogers, D-Kalamazoo
Rep. Carra issues statement on tragedy at MSU
State Rep. Steve Carra, R-Three Rivers, issued this statement:
“Monday night, students hid in fear while their mothers and fathers were kept up late, filled with worry after a lone gunman took the lives of several bright young students. The first thing I wish to convey is my heartfelt sadness for the friends and families who lost loved ones. You are in the thoughts and prayers of Southwest Michigan. MSU is home to hundreds of our neighbors, and many Spartan alumni live throughout St. Joseph and Cass Counties. Michigan State Spartans are a strong and proud group that will weather this difficult time. Spartans Will.
“Since the shooting, elected officials have sought to politicize the tragedy without having a complete understanding of what occurred. Jumping to conclusions and crafting rash policy that illegally impedes upon the Second Amendment is not the correct solution to this crisis. From the initial information we have, the shooter has had a previous encounter with law enforcement. He reportedly faced a felony on a firearm-related incident, but was only convicted on a misdemeanor, sending him back into the public.
“Our country has had firearms in the homes of Americans since its inception, but these cowardly acts of violence against unprotected students are a recurring issue in recent history. What has changed recently that has provoked this? Our nation has a mental health crisis, society has become Godless, the traditional family model has been abandoned, and increasing laws meant to protect us from gun violence have only backfired by leaving our children vulnerable. How is it that our schools and children are not protected like our banks, or government buildings?
“The next steps we should consider as legislators include enacting policies that will result in stronger mental health and policies that ensure our schools are not soft targets. Banning the use of AR-15s will not solve anything, as it appears that this shooting and the shooting in Oxford were with handguns. Further gun control measures will only make it more difficult for responsible, law-abiding citizens to protect themselves and others. We have seen the destructive results of gun confiscation efforts in large cities such as Chicago and Washington, D.C. Let’s not allow that to happen in Michigan.
“May God watch over us all.”Rep. Steve Carra
U.S. Attorney Mark Totten of the Western District of Michigan issued the following statement:
“Last night’s shootings on the campus of Michigan State University were senseless, tragic, and horrible. Thousands of students and their loved ones endured a terror that no one should ever, ever experience. As a former MSU law professor and fellow Michigander, my heart goes out to the Spartan community and especially to the families of the students killed or injured. I’m grateful for the hundreds of first responders who turned out last night and bravely did their work. And my office and I stand ready to assist in any way we can.”U.S. Attorney Mark Totten
Former U.S. congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords issued the following statement:
“Last night, another college campus was traumatized by gun violence. Three students were senselessly killed, and another five were injured. This horrific tragedy occurred nearly five years after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and 15 years after the mass shooting at Northern Illinois University. Students should not have to live in fear at school. Parents shouldn’t have to worry about sending their children off to college. We can and we must do more to address the gun violence epidemic in this country. We cannot accept an America where seeking an education requires students of all ages to risk their lives.
“Our leaders in Michigan and Washington must act. My heart is with the entire Michigan State University community as they suffer the trauma that comes from gun violence. You are not alone and we stand with you.”Gabrielle Giffords