Michigan Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday signed gun control bills put forth by the new Democrat majority in the State Legislature, ostensibly in reaction to the shootings at Michigan State University and Oxford High School, and two gun rights groups reportedly filed a joint lawsuit almost immediately.
The Detroit Metro Times headlined its coverage: “Democrats on a roll after Whitmer signs gun-control bills.”
Whitmer’s signature went on bills that “expand” background check requirements for firearm purchases, and set so-called “safe storage” standards, according to the Detroit News. To its credit, the newspaper acknowledged the bills “marked the most significant firearm restrictions Michigan has enacted in decades.” The new laws aren’t incorrectly portrayed as “reform” or “safety” measures, but accurately as restrictions.
And, the Detroit News said, “Republican lawmakers have contended the bills won’t prevent future shootings but will infringe on constitutional rights.”
According to the MLive news group, the storage mandate applies “when minors are present.”
“A person could be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by not more than 93 days in jail, a fine of no more than $500, or both, if a minor obtains the firearm due to improper storage,” the news group said.
Guns would be required to be stored in a safe or lockbox.
But would either of these new restrictions have prevented the MSU attack? The gunman who carried out the February attack bought his guns legally. This is a well-established fact which has been widely reported.
Signed into law Thursday were Senate Bills 79, 80, 81 and 82, along with House Bills 4138 and 4142, MLive detailed.
As detailed by WJRT News, the laws signed by Whitmer Thursday mandate:
- Background checks are now required before any firearms transfer, also generically known as “universal background checks.”
- The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services will distribute literature explaining the law, which will be required for posting by federally-licensed firearms dealers.
- The “safe storage” requirement says firearms cannot be stored with ammunition. They must be secured inside a locked container (gun safe, gun locker, etc.) or have some sort of locking device attached whenever minors are present.
It should be noted that the mass shootings which have been mentioned repeatedly in recent days as grounds for new gun control laws all occurred outside the homes of the shooters. None of them involved minors getting access to firearms. They occurred at a private Christian school, a bank building and a university campus.
There is also no evidence that requiring dealers to post and provide information about gun laws has ever prevented someone from committing a violent act.
According to the Detroit News, the legislative director for Michigan Open Carry said the new statutes would likely be challenged in court. Tom Lambert is the MOC official who contends the new laws conflict with last summer’s Supreme Court ruling in the Bruen case.
Michigan didn’t have to wait long. According to WWMT News, Great Lakes Gun Rights and MOC filed a joint lawsuit in the Michigan Court of Claims. The groups are claiming that the Democrat-controlled House and Senate “suppressed speech” by not allowing them enough time to testify on the legislation, WMMT reported.
Likewise the Detroit News separately reported the lawsuit “alleges the chambers are suppressing speech and discriminating based on viewpoint in violation of the First and 14th amendments and the Michigan Open Meetings Act.”
Brenden Boudreau, a spokesman for the Great Lakes group, said in a statement, “For a political party so concerned with protecting democracy, the Democrat majorities ran roughshod over democracy when they effectively silenced one side of the gun control debate. This is a dangerous precedence to be set by either party, which is why we are challenging it.”
As noted by MLive, this wasn’t the end of gun control efforts this year in Lansing. “Still left on Democrats’ gun control to-do list,” MLive is reporting, “is passing extreme risk protection order legislation, otherwise known as red flag laws.”
The House was expected to take quick action on other measures as early as Thursday.
Michigan is not the only place where majority Democrat lawmakers are scrambling to pass gun control legislation. Ammoland has already reported on the situation in Washington State, and there are actions in Minnesota, California, Oregon and elsewhere.
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