Mass shootings renew calls for red flag gun legislation in Michigan

President Donald Trump spoke about so-called "red flag laws" aimed at taking guns away from those who pose a danger to themselves or others.

The same kind of laws have been debated in Michigan - and might now get a second look after this weekend's past massacres.

Here's how the red flag law would work if passed in Michigan: if a family member or significant other has proof that a person is a threat to themselves or others, they can take that info to local law enforcement like state police to either take that gun away if a court agrees upon that, or go to court if they don't yet have a gun to ensure they can't get their hands on one in the future.

Right now Michigan lawmakers have red flag or extreme risk protections act bills in both the House and Senate that could potentially come up for a vote this year. 

Both versions have wording like this: "The complaint must state facts that show that issuance of an extreme risk protection order is necessary because the defendant poses a significant risk of personal injury to himself or herself or others by possessing a firearm." 

If the order is granted the bills would take guns away for up to year. Now this is not the first time bills like this have been introduced and none have ever made it the governor's desk for a signature. So the question is what's different now?

"As a legislator I can only make a law but I can't stop ill will behavior, no one can," said State Rep. Pete Lucido (R-Shelby Twp.). "You cage ill will behavior, you put them in cages, those are called jails - this is what us as humans have done for years."

"What is frustrating to me is it takes this kind of an event to get people's attention," said State Sen. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor). "When every day in our streets there is violence being committed with guns." 

One major difference is President Donald Trump's own words during his prepared statements after the two mass shootings in Texas and Ohio he expressed his desire for a federal version of a red flag law. It is something he believes will have bi-partisan support. 

"If the standard-bearer of the Republican Party is going to say that he now supports some of these rules, then great, we are going to work together and get it done," Irwin said.

"I too believe that if we have a better solution than letting people getting killed, I am all in," Lucido said. "But if the solution is, to take guns out of circulation to stop something - I am out on that."

Some feel the red flag bill has the potential for manipulation, abuse or even inciting the very violent acts its designed to prevent. Some like Lucido are skeptical that another law can change people's behavior.

"If I call somebody out and say they may be a threat to themselves or a third party, lawsuits are happening right now," Lucido said. "For going ahead and trying to do the right thing and protecting society or protect the person."

Others say do something in the name of prevention is better than doing nothing. 

"When someone has demonstrated to their loved ones that they are a threat to others or themselves, then we can step up and protect those people and those around them," said Irwin.

If these bills pass through committee, they would go up for a vote in either the House or Senate. If it passes there it would go to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for a signature, who has stated that she believes it to be a common sense bill.