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Michigan Democrats roll out gun safety bills

People sit on the lawn outside the state capitol. One holds a sign that says, 'we should be writing papers, not eulogies.'
Joey Cappelletti/AP
Students and community members gather outside of the Michigan Capitol in Lansing on Monday, Feb. 20, 2023, for a protest calling for lawmakers to enact gun control legislation following a mass shooting on the Michigan State University campus on Feb. 13.

Hearings on the legislation are underway. Republican leaders have not yet commented on the bills.

(MPRN) The state legislature’s Democratic leaders introduced a package of gun safety bills Wednesday, promising to get bills to Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s desk this year.

Advocacy groups have ramped up efforts following the shootings at Oxford High School and Michigan State University.

Saylor Reinders is the president of the Michigan State University chapter of Students Demand Action. She said the political landscape in Michigan has changed since the shootings at Oxford High School and Michigan State University.

“I refuse to accept that this is the way that things have to be,” she said during an online press conference. “I refuse to let future generations of students grow up like we have, living in constant worry that any day could be their last. Right now, we have a real opportunity to make meaningful change.”

House Speaker Joe Tate said, under Democratic control, the Legislature can adopt gun safety measures that stalled in earlier sessions.

“We no longer want to be in the position where we speak to parents that have lost children and they ask us the question, what have you done to help us?” he said.

They’re calling for new laws to require universal background checks for gun sales, locking up guns when not in use, and extreme risk protection orders that would allow authorities to seize firearms in some cases.

Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks said the shootings at Oxford High School and Michigan State University are proof that changes are needed.

“I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to recognize our country as one that willfully accepts the deaths of children and innocent people when there are real things we can and must do to stop it,” she said.