Lansing – Republican lawmakers in Michigan on Wednesday blocked Democratic attempts to Force action on gun control measures, a day after a gunman killed 21 people at a Texas elementary school.
Senate Democrats passed a procedural move to introduce a package of bills to impose new gun storage standards in the Senate for a vote, rejecting committee proposals to mount action before the Senate. entire Senate. However, Republicans who control the chamber quickly voted to send the bills back to the Government Operations Committee.
In the House, Democrats tried to tie a school safety bill pending in the House to bills requiring safe storage standards and background checks for gun purchases. . But both amendments were defeated by the Republican-controlled chamber.
“This is an urgent situation that we face,” Sen. Rosemary Bayer, D-Beverly Hills, said in a speech to the Senate. “We’ve been telling you about this for years, over and over. It’s urgent now because again we didn’t do anything after the Oxford shooting. We didn’t do anything after the Buffalo shooting. Now, we don’t want to do anything today.
“I object to not wanting to do anything anymore. It is urgent. Every day we do not act, we choose weapons over children. Enough is enough. No more prayers. No more thoughts. No more inaction.”
Bayer was the sponsor of one of the bills featured on Wednesday. It would have imposed new safe storage requirements on gun owners if their guns were potentially accessible to a minor.
Gun owners should keep guns in a locked box, store them in a safe place, or use a locking device.
Under the proposal, a gun owner who failed to properly secure his gun would be guilty of a felony. If a minor used the weapon in a threatening manner, the crime would be a misdemeanor for the owner of the weapon. If a minor used the weapon to harm others, it would be a crime for the owner of the weapon.
On Tuesday, an 18-year-old gunman killed 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. The most recent mass shooting took place 175 days after another gunman killed four Oxford High School students.
The Senate voted 22 to 14, along party lines, to send the storage bills to the Government Operations Committee.
Senator Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, said the families were grieving and it was “far too early” to assign bill numbers to their grief.
“There are political solutions,” Horn said during his own speech in the Senate. “But there are just as many spiritual solutions.
“We don’t know what’s really going on in this world, what’s going on in this country, what’s happening to young men.”
Rosie Jones, spokeswoman for the Senate Democrats, said the caucus’ goal was to push through “common sense security bills.”
“They’ve been languishing in committee for almost a year, since before Oxford, and we decided to offload them and get the bills headed to the governor’s office,” Jones said.
Such a proposal would have to pass through both the Republican-controlled House and Senate before reaching Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer for her signature.
In the House Wednesday afternoon, Rep. Felicia Brabec, D-Pittsfield Twp., attempted to tie legislation requiring background checks for gun purchases to a bill the House is expected to vote on Thursday that would allow schools to submit critical incident mapping data to law enforcement as part of their safety response plan.
Brabec’s amendment did not pass, nor did a later amendment by Rep. Mari Manoogian, D-Birmingham, which sought to tie the same bill to safe storage laws pending in the House.
Rep. Darrin Camilleri, D-Brownstown Twp., urged the Legislature to advance the background check requirement on gun purchases, noting that the state is five days away from the sixth anniversary of the November 30 shooting at Oxford High School. He asked lawmakers to break with the “maddening and numbing routine” adopted after the mass shootings.
“A mass shooting occurs, overwhelming media coverage, recycled speeches and sermons, thoughts and prayers and no action,” Camilleri said.
“…What kind of dystopian timeline do we live in when this is what our communities are relegated to?”
On Wednesday morning, Sen. Jeremy Moss, D-Southfield, told colleagues that “the time for action was long ago.”
“We can’t have one more child in this state and in this country wondering if this is their last day in this state and in this country as they go to school,” Moss said. “It’s ridiculous.”
Several Senate Democrats, including Minority Leader Jim Ananich, D-Flint, said on social media that Majority Republicans also ended the session on Wednesday without allowing them to make statements at the end of the session. meeting.
“If they want to shut up about kids dying in school, that’s their choice,” Ananich tweeted. “But they won’t win by silencing us.”
After the Oxford school shooting, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, said it would be time to consider whether the state legislature should act.
“If we become obsessed with eliminating all risk, then we will grow and evolve into a country we won’t recognize,” Shirkey said at the time.
“It’s a balance,” he said. “It’s a very narrow road, and it’s tough. Events like this keep those thoughts in mind.”
Representative Luke Meerman, who helped lead a school safety task force in the wake of the Oxford High School shooting, said on Wednesday that the group’s recommendations on school safety, law enforcement and the mental health improvements would be released in the coming weeks.
The report will include recommendations for approximately 17 pieces of legislation aimed at improving school safety, but there will be no recommendations related to gun control. The bipartisan committee was unable to reach consensus on gun control, the Coopersville Republican said.
“Our goal has always been a consensus report that we can all sign off on and come up with things that we think will be very foundational and instrumental in helping to hopefully help bring about some serious change,” Meerman said.
Staff writers Beth LeBlanc and Riley Beggin contributed.