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White House gun safety rule would standardize closing gun show loophole

City of Kirkland

A rule issued Thursday by the White House to expand required background checks for many gun purchases largely mirrors a Michigan law already in place. Gun-control advocates say it also strengthens the state law’s protections.

The Michigan law was adopted this year as part of a slate of gun control measures. The Biden administration rule, which does not require congressional approval, is part of the process of enacting a two-year-old federal gun law.

“In some states across the country there’s universal background checks, but what we need is a federal system because we know that guns can cross state lines,” said Stefanie Feldman, the director of the White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention. “So what this does is it expands the universe of people who are required to run background checks before selling firearms.”

Michigan has been a focal point of the debate over firearm rights, the availability of guns and how to quell gun violence after incidents including mass shootings at Oxford High School on November 30, 2021, and Michigan State University on February 13, 2023.

State Senator Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak) agreed that state-level regulations can only do so much. She was a key sponsor of Michigan’s stricter gun regulations.

“The reality is that if Michigan has the strongest laws on the books, because of the way guns can move from state to state and with neighboring states like Indiana and Ohio, guns can still get into our state via our neighboring states,” she told Michigan Public Radio. “So this is a huge step forward into addressing that patchwork and keeping Michiganders safe.”

Gun-rights groups have said the federal rule oversteps the government’s authority to regulate firearms. Michigan gun-rights organizations are also exploring a legal challenge to the state’s new restrictions.

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