'We’ve lost too many young lives': Michigan State University shooting increases push for gun law changes
EAST LANSING, Mich. (FOX 2) - In the wake of Monday's deadly shooting at Michigan State University, Democrats are hoping to get GOP support for a series of gun safety issues and law changes.
It's a change Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has already been pushing for before yet another school shooting.
"Let's enact universal background checks for people who want to buy firearms, let's enact safe storage laws, so we can make sure firearms are stored safely at home, and let's enact extreme risk protection orders, so we can keep guns out of the hands of those who might represent a danger to themselves or others," she said during her State of the State address last month.
Read: MSP Lt. Shaw argues existing laws could have prevented Michigan State shooting
New House GOP leader Matt Hall outlined what the Republicans supported last year, including setting up a school safety commission, hiring more school safety personnel, and expanding an emergency tip line. None of what Whitmer wanted was noted by Hall.
Republican Rep. Luke Meerman co-chaired the School Safety Committee last year, and he said there were no gun control laws in the report because the votes in the legislature weren't there to do it.
"Some people will say we don't get hard things done, but if there isn't support across the legislature it's not going to get done," he said.
However, there is a new legislature controlled by Democrats. Sen. Rosemary Bayer hopes to get it done with the support of some Republicans.
Related: Everything we've learned about the 8 MSU students shot
"We have had offers of support from both sides of the aisle, and that is our intent to get some kind of legislation that everyone can support," Bayer said.
Democrats were going to advance their bills in April, but they are speeding up the introduction because of the MSU shooting.
"The state legislature needs to do what should’ve been done years ago—pass meaningful gun legislation," said State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice at Tuesday’s State Board of Education meeting. "We’ve lost too many young lives to gun violence… There are guns in the wrong hands. It’s well past time for commonsense gun safety laws."
Outside the legislature, a Detroit Chamber survey shows 90% favored more extensive background checks including 93% of gun owners; 74% favor red flag laws; and 63% favor a safe gun storage law.
Some have argued red flag laws may have prevented the MSU shooting. These laws allow court orders for guns to be removed from people who could be a threat to themselves or others. They are also designed to keep guns out of the hands of people who may be suffering mental health crises, so people don't get hurt.
More: MSU shooter's brother said he changed after mom died
Other states have enacted these laws. Florida passed a law after the Parkland high school shooting in 2018, while Maine has a "yellow flag" law that requires a medical professional to sign off before guns are removed.
The specifics of these laws vary by state, but the premise is the same – someone, typically a family member, police, or medical professional, can petition to have a person's guns removed from them for a set time. A judge approves or denies these orders, and the person can be charged with crimes if they fail to comply.