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

Potential MI gun legislation could help protect domestic violence survivors

Courtesy / MLive

New gun restrictions may be implemented in Michigan to prevent domestic abusers from causing more harm to victims and survivors.

Senate Bills 471 and 472 would bar someone from owning, purchasing, transporting, or selling a gun, as well as ammunition, if convicted of a misdemeanor involving domestic violence. A convicted individual would be required to serve their term of imprisonment or punishment and complete all conditions of their probation, and also be banned from using a gun for eight years. Once these conditions are met, the individual may own a firearm.

Jacob Welch, the Chief of Staff for the Grand Valley State University College Democrats, said the legislation is a necessary motion the state’s government should move forward with. 

“I feel like that (the potential new restriction) is necessary nowadays to prevent the wrong people from getting firearms. It’s a positive step for our state, and we’ve seen what happens when we don’t do anything about our gun problem,” Welch said. “We have tragedies, and thankfully, our campus has an amazing public safety service, but we shouldn’t just have to rely on that.”

Welch said he is unsure of the community’s reaction if the bills were to pass, but he feels there is a need for this kind of legislation in light of recent campus tragedies.

“Guns in the hands of the wrong people are the problem,” Welch said. “It’ll make everyone safer. I can’t say how people will react to it, but I can say that I think after the tragedy at MSU (Michigan State University) people wanted these changes.”

The College Republicans at GVSU were unable to provide a statement on this matter.

Other students at GVSU feel the implementation of this restriction is important. 

“(If) someone has committed an act of violence, they should not be allowed to purchase a gun because of their conviction,”  said Janelle Weiberg, a third-year student at GVSU. “I believe that if someone causes harm to others, they simply should not be allowed to own a gun.” 

Passing bills 471 and 472 would could potentially be for women’s safety. According to The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence (EFSGV), a woman is five times more likely to be murdered when her abuser has access to a gun.

“Nearly one in four women and one in seven men will experience severe physical violence at the hands of their intimate partner in their lifetime. Fortunately, most victims of domestic violence survive. But far too many do not,” EFSGV reports.

Both men and women can be killed by intimate partners in abusive relationships; however, women are much more likely to be victims of homicide in these situations.

“Studies show that nearly 78% of intimate partner homicide victims are women, 98% of whom are killed by male partners,” EFSGV states.

By limiting abusers’ access to firearms can increase the chances of victims and survivors escaping toxic relationships and dangerous situations.

“I feel this law is important to prevent victims of domestic assault and violence from experiencing any other violence,” Weiberg said. “I think this will impact Michigan in a positive way, hopefully preventing acts of domestic violence.”

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