Michigan lawmakers failed to enact any gun laws as firearm violence continues to rise

click to enlarge Man choosing new handgun in gun shop. - Shutterstock
Man choosing new handgun in gun shop.

As gun violence continued to increase in Michigan, state lawmakers failed to enact any new legislation to protect residents from firearms last year.

Because of that, the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence on Monday gave Michigan a “C+” for its gun laws and said the state “should invest in community violence intervention programs, require background checks on all firearm purchases, create extreme risk protection orders, and strengthen restrictions on firearm access by people who have committed domestic violence.”

In 2020, the last year for which statistics are available, 1,454 people died as a result of firearm injuries in Michigan, a 21% increase over the previous year.

Driving the increase was gun homicides, which made up 46% of all firearm deaths in the state in 2020. The gun homicide rate increased 47% from 2019 to 2020.

The number of firearm suicides rose slightly, from 761 deaths in 2020 to 742 in 2019.

Nationwide, more than 45,000 people were killed by guns in 2020, the highest number in decades.

“2021 was yet another year of crisis for our country. Too many communities had to reckon with the trauma and pain of surging gun violence, armed hate, and racial discrimination — all in the midst of the ongoing pandemic,” Robyn Thomas, executive director of Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said in a statement. “What our Scorecard shows, year after year is that it is possible to take action to end this senseless violence. States with strong gun safety laws have fewer gun deaths — but illegal trafficking leaves residents of these states vulnerable. This progress must extend to every single state across the nation. We hope the Gun Law Scorecard will continue to serve as a resource for our elected officials who understand that getting a passing grade can be a matter of life and death.”

Michigan didn’t receive a failing grade because it requires partial gun owner licensing, has a state database of background checks for handguns, partially retains state firearm sales records, and keeps records for lost and stolen firearms.

Here’s what Michigan lacks:

• Universal background checks for long guns

• Extreme risk protection orders

• Assault weapon restrictions

• Sufficient domestic violence gun laws

• Large capacity magazine ban

• Strong concealed carry law

• Open carry regulations

• Child access prevention laws

• Community violence intervention funding.

Following the deadly mass shooting at Oxford High School on Nov. 30, Democratic state lawmakers introduced legislation that would limit the capacity of ammunition magazines and impose penalties for unsafe gun storage.

State Senate Democrats also proposed regulations to remove guns from people who may be a danger to themselves or others.

Passing regulations on guns, however, is an uphill battle because Republicans, who have resisted such measures, control the state House and Senate.

On the federal level, U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin introduced legislation in December that would require gun owners to safely secure firearms.

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About The Author

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling is an award-winning investigative journalist who operated Motor City Muckraker, an online news site devoted to exposing abuses of power and holding public officials accountable. Neavling also hosted Muckraker Report on 910AM from September 2017 to July 2018. Before launching Motor City Muckraker,...
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