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Michigan Democrats roll out gun safety bills

Emily Fennick / EyeEm
Getty Images/EyeEm

A package of gun safety bills has been introduced in the Michigan Legislature. The legislation was rolled out Wednesday, March 1 by Democratic leaders.

Advocacy groups have ramped up efforts following the shootings at Oxford High School and Michigan State University. They’re calling for new laws to require universal background checks for gun sales, locking up guns when not in use, and extreme risk protection orders that would allow authorities to seize firearms in some cases.

House Speaker Joe Tate says, under Democratic control, the Legislature can adopt gun safety measures that stalled in earlier sessions.

“We no longer want to be in the position where we speak to parents that have lost children and they ask us the question, what have you done to help us?” Tate asked.

Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks says shootings at Oxford High School and Michigan State University are proof that changes are needed.

“I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to recognize our country as one that willfully accepts the deaths of children and innocent people when there are real things we can and must do to stop it," Brinks said.

Saylor Reinders is the president of the Michigan State University chapter of Students Demand Action. She says the political landscape in Michigan has changed since the shootings at Oxford High School and Michigan State University.

“I refuse to accept that this is the way that things have to be," Reinders said. "I refuse to let future generations of students grow up like we have, living in constant worry that any day could be their last. Right now, we have a real opportunity to make meaningful change.”

Hearings on the legislation are underway. Republican leaders have not yet commented on the bills.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network.