Whitmer signs gun storage, universal background check bills into law
Michigan will require universal background checks for gun purchases and that firearms be stored under lock and key when not in use under bills signed into law Thursday by Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
“We don’t have to live like this and today we are showing we are not going to anymore,” she said to the cheers of advocates, some of whom worked for decades for stricter state gun laws. The bills were adopted after Democrats took full control of the Legislature in the last election and Whitmer, also a Democrat, won a second term.
The bill signing took place on the Michigan State University campus, where a mass shooting occurred in February. Whitmer said mass shooting events like MSU and Oxford High School in 2021 get a lot of attention, but gun violence is common.
“Last Thursday, a six-month-old baby was shot and killed in Muskegon. Last Friday, a 16-year-old was shot and killed in Detroit, and a 23-year-old young man was shot and killed in Lansing,” she said. “Gun violence is a scourge that is unique to this country and that is why we are taking action.”
Whitmer also called on the Legislature to follow up by sending her bills that would allow authorities to temporarily seize firearms from people deemed a danger to themselves or others. On the same day, the Michigan House approved bills to allow court-approved extreme risk protection orders.
The bills were adopted along party-line votes.
Representative Andrew Beeler (R-Port Huron) was one of the GOP “no” votes. He said the protection orders would punish gunowners based on a suspicion.
“No one forfeits their right before they’re shown by the state to have committed a crime worthy of that punishment,” he said. “Before us today is a bill to do just that – to take away by government fiat, the right of the people to defend themselves where no crime has been committed and no proven cause has been given.”
But Democrats countered the seizure order is a civil action — not a criminal charge — and would have to be approved by a judge.
“This is all about the Constitution, due process and it is about the guns,” said Representative Kelly Breen (D-Novi).
The House extreme risk protection order bills now go to the Michigan Senate.