Gun reform proposals receive first hearing in Michigan Legislature

Published: Mar. 1, 2023 at 8:18 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - For the first time in decades, gun reform proposals are receiving a hearing in the Michigan Legislature.

The House Judiciary Committee heard proposals Wednesday that would require people to safely store their guns, expand background checks, and create a red flag law.

The bills were introduced just days after the mass shooting at Michigan State University.

“This was our home and these were our people. There are 50,000+ stories of the same night and they all revolve around anger, fear and sadness,” said MSU Student Body Vice President Carl Austin Miller Grondin.

Related: MSU plans to update security, ‘reclaim our sense of safety’

While he wasn’t on campus during the Feb. 13 shooting that killed three students and injured five others, Grondin’s sister was in her dorm. He called her several times after the school issued a Shelter-in-Place order.

“My heart sank every time I said ‘I loved you’ to her because I wasn’t sure if it was going to be the last,” Grondin recalled.

Democratic lawmakers are proposing new laws that would require people to safely store guns, get rid of taxes on safety equipment, expand background checks for all gun purchases, and implement red flag laws, which allow judges to temporarily take guns from people who could be dangerous.

Republican State Rep. Kathy Schmaltz has suggested focusing on mental health proposals to reduce gun violence.

“We have so many problems with mental health,” Schmaltz said. “And many of these cases involve mental health. We have to make sure we’re reaching these people before they lash out at other people and make sure they are getting the services and help that they need.”

For Grondin, he wants lawmakers to reform gun laws to prevent further school shootings.

“We need to be heard. We have grown up in this violence. This should not be our reality,” Grondin said. “We are scared and we are unsure how to cope and do not know what the future will bring.”

Another hearing is expected next week, and Democrats have promised to make changes based on feedback heard Wednesday.

A hearing before a Senate committee on a similar proposal is expected on Thursday.

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