Michigan Democrats Push for Gun Reform Laws in Wake of MSU Shooting

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In response to the mass shooting at Michigan State University on Monday, Democratic lawmakers in the state are seeking to introduce legislation that would help mitigate gun violence.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) said during a Tuesday press conference that now is the time for Michigan Democrats to enact gun control measures, as this is the first time in 40 years that the party holds the majority in both chambers of the state legislature.

“As parents, we tell our kids it’s going to be okay. We say that all the time,” Whitmer said. “But the truth is, words are not good enough. We must act and we will.”

During her State of the State address last month, Whitmer asked lawmakers to prepare gun safety laws that would tighten background checks, prevent individuals who are deemed dangerous to themselves or others from accessing guns, and establish safe storage requirements for firearms.

During a Tuesday news briefing, Democratic Majority Leader Winnie Brinks and State Sen. Rosemary Bayer, a leader of the Firearm Safety and Violence Prevention Caucus, voiced their support for Whitmer’s suggested measures and said they hope their fellow legislators will endorse the laws.

The Feb. 13 shooting on the MSU campus left three students dead and five injured. The gunman, Anthony Dwayne McRae, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. McRae had no known affiliations with the university, and no motive has yet been determined, CNN reports.

“As the mom of an MSU student, I’m watching with dread as the events on and around campus are unfolding, so grateful and relieved my daughter is answering my texts and calls,” Brinks said in a tweet as the events unfolded. “My heart is breaking for the parents whose children have been injured or killed.”

Democratic House Majority Leader Joe Tate, an alum of MSU, said lawmakers can no longer wait to take action.

“We have a choice. We can continue to debate the reasons for gun violence in America, or we can act,” Tate said in a statement. “We cannot continue to do the same thing over and over again and hope for a different outcome. Multiple people were shot and killed at Michigan State University. I have no understanding left for those in a position to effect change who are unwilling to act.”

Last year, Republican lawmakers in Michigan blocked an attempt by Democrats to advance gun reform legislation that would have expanded background checks and required safe storage of firearms, The Guardian reports.

President Biden addressed the shooting at MSU in a statement, noting that the incident occurred the day before the fifth anniversary of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

“Congress must do something and enact commonsense gun law reforms … ” Biden said. “Action is what we owe to those grieving today in Michigan and across America.”