GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist said this week’s State of the State address will likely include comments on legislation aimed at tackling gun violence.
“Public safety continues to be important and everyone needs to experience it in a real way and you are not safe in a community that experiences rampant gun violence,” Gilchrist said. “We need to have a comprehensive way to approach it. That means investing more in our people and our community pathways to success and opportunity. That means that law enforcement is better trained and better supported and that we can improve policing at the same time. We need to also make sure we’re doing things like violent history checks for people.”
Those checks, he said, would include ensuring gun buyers aren’t under a protection order.
“These are things the majority, the overwhelming majority of Michigan people support,” he said.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer previously discussed similar legislation.
“I do think with this new legislature, we will get some common sense polices done that will keep our kids safe,” she told News 8 late last year, shortly after her reelection. “And it won’t impact hunters — that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about secure storage and red flag laws and background checks and I think with this new legislature, we’ll be able to get it done.”
State Rep. Carol Glanville, D-Walker, reiterated the idea that such measures have overwhelming support in the Legislature — and not just among Democrats, who now have the majority in both chambers and also hold the governor’s office.
“I’m hopeful, I would say, leaning toward confident because of what we heard the lieutenant governor say: Michiganders, upwards of 80%, almost 90% of Michiganders, agree with the measures we’ve been talking about and they’re not just Democrats talking about them, it is bipartisan. We do have a slim majority but these bills have bipartisan support,” Glanville said.
If the governor does include gun legislation in her State of the State address on Wednesday, it will no doubt be a hot topic of discussion in Lansing. The new Legislature has yet to be tested by such a contentious issue.
Gilchrist was at Grand Rapids Community College Monday for a roundtable discussion on Michigan Reconnect, which covers tuition for an associate’s degree for people 25 and over. Gilchrist talked with students and instructors about the program’s successes and what he would like to see continued and expanded, also suggesting we may hear more about that in the governor’s speech.