Michigan earns 'C' grade for gun safety, prompting activists to call for tougher firearm laws

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Activists are calling for stronger firearm laws in Michigan after a new national report said the state has “significant room for progress when it comes to gun safety.”

The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence gave Michigan a "C" grade for its gun laws and suggested the state “could enact an extreme risk protection order law and invest in proven community violence intervention strategies.”

When it comes to the strength of gun laws, Michigan ranks 20th in the nation. The state ranks 31st for gun-related deaths, with 12 out of 100,000 people killed by firearms a year.

The ranking comes at a time when some Republican lawmakers, including Sen. Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, are cozying up with militia members. In April, militia members entered the state Capitol building, prompting the Michigan Capitol Commission to ban the open carry of firearms in the building. Shortly after, Shirkey encouraged leaders of the Hillsdale County Republican Party to test the constitutionality of the ban.

"Carry in your long gun now and test it," the Clarklake Republican said.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who was the target of a kidnapping plot linked to militia members, has proposed a complete ban on firearms in the state Capitol building, but Republicans have balked at prohibiting concealed guns.

“It’s not surprising that Michigan is failing when it comes to protecting its citizens from gun violence when you look at the events that have taken place at the capitol this year,” Lonnie Scott, executive director for Progress Michigan, a liberal advocacy group, said in a statement. “The Republican Party is encouraging their supporters to take up arms while ignoring the public’s desire for common-sense legislation to protect Michiganders from gun violence.”

In its report, the Giffords Law Center said lawmakers are looking the other way when it comes to gun safety.

“This public safety threat needs to be addressed with facts, evidence, and action," the report states. "We’ve proven that lawmakers can save lives, reduce violence, and make their states safer by following a simple blueprint: pass gun violence prevention laws. Every year, our scorecard is a reminder to states that progress is possible, but also a reminder of the work we have left to accomplish. The Gun Law Scorecard should be both a resource and roadmap for elected leaders, activists, and concerned citizens to take action.”

California, New Jersey, New York, and Maryland received "A" grades for their more stringent gun laws, which includes closing loopholes in federal background checks, investing in community violence intervention and prevention, and prohibiting unregulated and untraceable firearms known as ghost guns.

Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, and West Virginia received "F" grades.

“America’s devastating gun violence epidemic is growing and impacting every part of our country because too many lawmakers would rather wish it away than acknowledge their role in advancing solutions to make our communities safer,” Robyn Thomas, executive director of Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said in a statement.

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