by Scott McClallen
The Michigan Senate passed gun legislation on party lines Thursday.
The bill package aims to expand background checks, enact safe storage requirements, and add red flag laws.
The bills pushed by Democrats are intended to reduce gun violence following a Feb. 13 shooting at Michigan State University that killed three students and wounded five more.
The 11-bill package would require guns to be securely stored in homes where children are present. A violation of this bill would be a misdemeanor, unless a minor accessed a gun, and then penalties could augment.
Senate Bill 83 seeks to add red flag laws, which allow some individuals including a spouse or family member to file for an extreme risk protection order against an individual. A red flag order would require showing someone poses a significant risk of personal injury to the respondent or others by possessing a firearm. The order, if approved, would allow the courts to temporarily remove firearms from those who pose a threat to themselves or others.
Senate Bill 76 aims to exempt from the requirement to obtain a license for a firearm any individual purchasing a firearm, other than a pistol, who underwent a Federal National Instant Criminal Background Check performed by a federally licensed firearms dealer within five days of the purchase.
The bill requires someone to obtain a license first before purchasing a firearm other than a pistol. The prohibition wouldn’t apply to the purchase or acquisition of a firearm that occurred before the bill’s effective date.
Senate Bill 77 amends the Michigan Penal Code to apply the penalties and fines for selling or obtaining a pistol without complying with the handgun licensure Act to the selling or obtaining of a firearm.
Senate Bill 78 amends the Code of Criminal Procedure to apply the sentencing guidelines for committing forgery on a pistol license application or providing a false statement on a pistol sales record to a firearm license and sales record.
Sen. Rosemary Bayer, D-West Bloomfield, said the bills would make Michigan safer if enacted into law.
“We are finally taking action to begin the process of making our state safer, making our kids, our families, all the people of Michigan safer today,” Bayer said on the Senate floor. “Today, we are finally going to do what the people of Michigan are overwhelmingly demanding that we do.”
Republicans countered that criminals already don’t follow laws.
“They will give people a sense of false security, all while infringing on everyone’s right to own a firearm, to hunt or even defend themselves and their family,” Sen. Joe Bellino, R-Monroe, said about the bills.
The average cost to state government for felony probation supervision is about $3,400 per probationer per year. A Senate Fiscal Analysis said these bills if enacted into law, could have a negative fiscal impact.
The bills move to the House.
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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.
Photo “Handgun” by Thomas Tucker.