Michigan Mayors Pushing for Changes in Gun Laws

By: Lindsay Veremis Email
By: Lindsay Veremis Email

On the one month anniversary of the Newtown school shooting, a group of Michigan mayors called for action to end gun violence.

They're demanding universal background checks, a ban on military assault-style weapons and gun trafficking made a federal crime.

"We're facing an avalanche, we are having guns rain down on us and bullets are raining down on our citizens," Lansing Mayor, Virg Bernero said. "It has already been a terrible January in Lansing and we're not unique."

Joining with law enforcement, the mayors are asking for the federal government to step in. They want additional, legal means to curb what they call a growing list of gun-related homicides.

"There may be a day without one, but then the next day we have two," Flint Mayor, Dayne Walling said. "In the City of Flint we were shocked for a homicide to be perpetrated in a church, at a funeral this weekend."

Currently, federal law only requires background checks at federally licensed dealers. No background check is needed for private, online or gun show sales.

Gun rights advocates worry universal background checks would have unintended consequences, burdening law-abiding buyers who are looking to defend themselves.

"Anytime you have government that interferes in the market, you artificially drive prices up," Phillip Hofmeister, President of Michigan Open Carry said. "Taking away guns from good people isn't going to help solve the problem."

Hofmeister also takes issue with the mayors' push for a ban on military assault-style weapons and high capacity clips.

"These weapons do serve valid purposes, there are some people that hunt with them, there are sporting purposes, markmanship programs that use these," Hofmeister added.

Bernero doesn't see it that way. He wants those weapons banned and illegal gun trafficking as a federal crime.

"We've got to get serious in this country about tracking these killing machines and that's what they are," Bernero said emphatically. He says Newtown is all the proof we need.

"I can't imagine what else would be more of a call to action than that," Lansing Schools Superintendent Yvonne Caamal Canul said.

Bernero is also calling for additional mental health resources. He called mental health funding "woefully inadequate" and says we can't continue to cut the programs that could stop gun violence, before it starts.

There could be action soon on the national level. President Obama said Monday he is reviewing a proposal from Vice President Joe Biden, who is heading up a task force on gun violence.

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  • by Bill Location: Mason on Jan 25, 2013 at 07:10 AM
    Hey B how about you keep your car and put a big sign on it saying that you have nothing to do with guns and while your at it put a big sign on your front lawn saying "NO GUNS ALLOWED HERE BECAUSE I DON'T HAVE ONE" Let us know how that works out for ya as a crime stopper.
  • by Name Location: Location on Jan 23, 2013 at 09:37 AM
    Got news for you B. The Govt. isn't going to use atomic bombs on an uprising in this country. King Obama would kill too many of his own welfare hound supporters. Also, a vast vast number of the members of our armed forces absolutely hate your beloved leader, but are bound by honor and duty to follow his directive (at least for now). Two words maybe you should look up and learn about. If the government threatened the people with warfare, a lot of these soldiers would defect. Do you know what happened in the former USSR when top commanders defected? Their men and equipment/arms went with them. Your King will not have a sweeping victory here. This, WE THE PEOPLE, can promise you.
  • by V Location: Grand Ledge on Jan 23, 2013 at 07:00 AM
    Hey B, After the 2nd amendment is gone in an effort to reduce murders, crime will most likely go up. When that happens we can do away with the 3rd amendment and quarter a soldier in every house too, in a last ditch effort to reduce violence. You know what... we'll start with your house to see how it works. You are just another one of the fools that would sooner hand over your freedoms one by one than grow a backbone and stand up for something. Unless it made you part of the cool crowd. I'll bet mommy and daddy handled all your problems when you were a kid... maybe they still do. YOU are what is wrong with this country. If you want to be a SLAVE to King Obama and all his puppets like Bernero then go right ahead and fall into line like the sheep you are. You say anything and everything must be done to stop the murder of our children yet the first thing you want to do is take away a meens of protection. Do you hear yourself when you speak? Do ever think that maybe you should start thinking for yourself instead of regurgitating what you hear on CNN, ABC, CBS, etc.?
  • by Anonymous Location: Lansing on Jan 23, 2013 at 06:44 AM
    @B...you are totally right!! We need to ban and confiscate the automobile while we're at it. I think you should lead the way and and be the first to park your car for good and buy a horse since more people (children included) die from auto accidents every year than firearm related incidents...or do you think you are more important than your kids?? If one life is saved isn't it worth it??
  • by B Location: Lansing on Jan 22, 2013 at 08:28 PM
    This column is full of paranoid, NRA freaks. Think of it this way: if the "Government" wants to take your "rights"(and your house), they have 50,000 atomic bombs at their disposal. And you gun nuts think your AK-47s are a match for that?? Don't be stupid. ANY thing that can be done about murders SHOULD be done. ANY THING. EVERY THING. Or do you think you are more important than your kids?? Wake up, idiots.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 20, 2013 at 02:33 AM
    That picture of all the people really scare me. Fifteen people and close to two thirds of them are police officers. A half a dozen politicial officials do not represent our state.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 20, 2013 at 02:31 AM
    Just another reason why the dems do not believe in the constitution.
  • by James Location: Lansing on Jan 18, 2013 at 04:25 AM
    The Sandy Hook killer broke over a hundred laws in a state that has some of the toughest gun control laws in the nation.. Why do these morons with no common sense think that a few more laws would stop someone who is dead set on killing people?? Oh and by the way Virg, we don't have the time to wait around for your police officers while someone is shooting at our children. Grow a pair and admit that the only way to stop an active shooter in a school, is to have someone there who is ARMED to confront them. You do send ARMED POLICE OFFICERS when a shooting occurs don't you?!?! So why not have those same armed police officers there PRIOR? WHY NOT?? Are you not interested in SAVING LIVES? Instead, you're just trying to hop on the useless political gun control bandwagon, because it's the "in thing" to do right now. WHAT A JOKE. Stricter gun control laws = More dead people. If you were to open your eyes, you would see that Sandy Hook is the perfect example of what happens when you create tougher gun control laws. LAWS MEAN NOTHING TO CRIMINALS.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 17, 2013 at 02:47 PM
    Did anyone see the story about teh assault made out of legos? Do we ban legos now?
  • by REN Location: Lansing on Jan 17, 2013 at 07:09 AM
    Jump on the bandwagon, Virg. Don't let this crisis go to waste. But understand, tougher background checks are not going to help much. Criminals and wackos will not obtain weapons legally, they will get them from other criminals. Not one of these murderous rages has been committed by a law-abiding citizen with a regestered weapon.
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