by Scott McClallen
After a shooter killed three Michigan State students and wounded five others, the Democrat-dominated Michigan Legislature is pushing gun restriction bills while Republicans want a broader package.
Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks, D-Grand Rapids, said in a virtual news conference that Democrats “will be taking action soon” on gun legislation although they don’t have specifics yet.
Brinks said the bills will focus on safe storage, universal background checks, and extreme risk protection orders.
House Majority Whip Ranjeev Puri, D-Canton, used profanity to express a disparaging view of thoughts and prayers in his response to the MSU shooting, adding: “Our office will continue to work tirelessly to pass common sense gun reform immediately. We will not stop until our students can attend school without fear, our communities can attend places of worship in peace, and our society is safe from senseless gun violence.”
House Republican Minority Leader Matt Hall, R-Richland backed a plan to strengthen safety at Michigan K-12 schools and support students’ mental health derived from the bipartisan School Safety Task Force report published in December created in response to the Oxford High School shooting in 2021.
“My heart goes out to the victims, friends, and family members so horribly affected by the shooting at Michigan State,” Hall said in a statement. “This senseless tragedy reminds us how important it is to work together to keep our communities and classrooms safe.”
Hall said House Bills 4088– 4100 aim to boost school safety and student mental health with communication, training, personnel, and more.
The plan would:
- Establish the School Safety and Mental Health Commission to identify best practices to address behavioral, physical, and mental health needs.
- Dedicate school staff to student safety and mental health, including funding to hire a safety and security coordinator and a mental health coordinator.
- Schools would be required to review and update their safety plans every three years in consultation with their ISD-level safety coordinator, and statewide standards would guide the implementation of modern security measures for school buildings.
- Expand and improve OK2SAY. Contact information for the OK2Say confidential tip line would be placed on school ID cards for easy student access. Reporting and tips received by OK2Say would be passed on to the ISD coordinators and local law enforcement; reporting and tips would also be provided quarterly to the School Safety and Mental Health Commission.
- Require the Michigan State Police to provide uniform, comprehensive school safety and security training for school resource officers and all staff at Michigan schools. It would also create uniform definitions statewide for school safety terms, such as lockdowns, to improve communication during crisis events, and add more active-shooter drills.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also called for common sense gun control in her annual address, and in a statement shortly after the shooting.
“This is a uniquely American problem,” Whitmer said. “Too many of us scan rooms for exits when we enter them. We plan who that last text or call would go to. We should not, we cannot, accept living like this.”
In response to calls for gun restrictions, Great Lakes Gun Rights said that gun restrictions wouldn’t have stopped the MSU shooting.
“Handgun registration laws and ‘gun-free’ zones didn’t stop this evil madman, and they won’t stop another one in the future,” Executive Director for Great Lakes Gun Rights Brendan Boudreau said in a statement. “More gun control in Michigan will leave law-abiding citizens helpless when they need to defend themselves and others. Lawmakers should expect to hear from their constituents in the coming days opposing their radical anti-gun agenda.”
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Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.