The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

MI introduces gun legislation bills that would loosen gun control restrictions

Courtesy / GOP House

State Rep. Gina Johnsen and Sen. Jonathan Lindsey have proposed two new bills that would make Michigan a gun sanctuary state. The two Republicans’ plan to make Michigan a state that protects the Second Amendment to a greater degree.

So far, two bills exist, but have yet to be passed: House Bill 5132 and Senate Bill 584. In the strictest terms, they would grant the state license to enforce which federal regulations regarding firearms they would like to recognize. This would mean a lapse in universal background checks, red flag laws and any others that inhibit gun ownership in the state. The legislators see these obstacles as infringing upon the Second Amendment. Though this is a partisan matter, opinions on gun control are extremely varied across the state. 

Emma Long, the president of the Students Demand Action chapter at Grand Valley State University, believes that making the state “safer for guns” will make the state more dangerous for people.

“Gun safety laws and regulations are solely for the purpose of keeping our communities safe, and watering down those regulations decreases public safety,” Long said.  

For Long, the natural consequence of ignoring regulations will be a loss of safety overall, especially in communities in which gun violence remains an ever-present issue.

“When gun laws become more relaxed and less strict, I think a lot of young communities feel like we aren’t being heard because we want rules and regulations that would keep us safe,” Long said.

Long does appreciate the idea of states making their own decisions regarding gun control. However, she believes that less regulation is not the answer.

“The firearm epidemic is a problem for the entire U.S., but it doesn’t always work to try to pass federal regulations only,” Long said. “If we can start with state-level regulations and work to limit gun violence as a state, there is good potential that we can expand those laws to the federal level.”

School shootings remain a prevalent thought in many people’s minds, especially after the shooting on Michigan State University‘s campus in East Lansing earlier this year. GVSU student and Communications Director for the College Democrats Ella Schavey believes that making the state a gun sanctuary state will potentially lead to safety issues for students specifically.

“It would endanger students even more than the lack of our laws already has,” Schavey said. “Michigan should prioritize this country-wide issue as it does affect us all.”

There have been about 560 mass shootings in the U.S. this year alone, a fact that Schavey feels is personal and present.

“We should be reminded each day of the lives that were lost and focus on keeping the places where we learn safe from the clear and present danger that guns are,” Schavey said.

Schavey believes Bill 5132 and any other legislation making it easier to own a gun in the state is a step in the wrong direction. 

“The bill would take us two huge steps back from the small one we just made, prohibiting enforcement of gun control measures like background checks and the red flag law that our legislature pushed hard to pass,” Schavey said. “Supporters of the bill (House Bill 5132 and Senate Bill 584) and  say these laws (gun control legislation) are impeding on the lawful gun owners, but our democratic controlled legislature argues that they help to prevent violence, which I do not see them backing down to stand up for.”

As long as Second Amendment issues remain a vital and contentious talking point in America, these propositions will spark debate. Whitt Kilburn, a political science professor at GVSU recognized the legitimacy of the legislation being proposed but insisted it might not matter much, based on the current party makeup of the legislature. 

“With the Democrats in the state legislature in the majority, it has no chance of passing,” Kilburn said. “I would add, however, that I suspect this bill would not have an easy time passing even with Republican control of the legislature. Michigan is not Texas.”

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