Whitmer signs law prohibiting those convicted of domestic violence from owning a gun

Those convicted of domestic violence crimes will be banned for owning, buying, or transporting firearms for eight years, a new law says.

"This is going to save lives. This bill is absolutely necessary," said Kazia Kelly, a social worker and domestic violence survivor. "My then two-year-old and I were threatened by firearms, specifically my husband’s handgun."

Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the latest gun safety legislation into office Monday, which attempts to prevent someone convicted of a violent crime from harming anyone else. It's the fourth gun related law that Whitmer has signed.

"Keeping Michiganders – especially young women – safe and healthy is a top priority, and these bills will take long overdue steps to protect individuals from abuse," Whitmer said. "As a former prosecutor and as governor, I am proud to sign this bipartisan legislation to prevent abusers from accessing firearms. Together, we can make Michigan a safe and welcoming place for everyone."

The new law prohibits anyone with a domestic violence-related conviction from obtaining firearms and ammunition.

"Had I known without a shadow of a doubt that my ex-husband’s guns would be removed, I would have been able to leave sooner," Kelley said. "So, the (goal) is that survivors will have that hope that they can leave and that there are laws in place to protect them."

There were three bills that were part of the package. 

HB 4945 updates sentencing guidelines to prohibit those convicted of domestic violence from buying or owning a gun or ammo. SB 471 prohibits someone from possessing or using firearms and ammo if they're convicted of a misdemeanor involving domestic violence.


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Some Michigan sheriffs have already said they won't enforce the law after calling it unconstitutional.

SB 428 outlines what a domestic violation offense is. 

Whitmer said the legislation is bipartisan, but only a few Republicans supported it. Oxford State Rep. Josh Schriver was not one of them.

During a legislative vote, Schriver told lawmakers that petty domestic crimes "should not cause individuals to become sitting ducks for violent criminals by losing their right to defend themselves for more than eight years."

"What I say to that is we have the data," Kelly said.

According to Everytown Research & Policy, abusers who possess firearms are five times more likely to kill their female victims.