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Moms Demand Action activists in Ferndale, August 2019 // Ken Coleman / Michigan Advance

Michigan Republicans thwart Dem attempts to move gun reforms after Texas school shooting


By Allison R. Donahue, Michigan Advance

Michigan Democrats renewed their call for gun reform legislation in the wake of a school shooting at an elementary school in Texas.

Democrats introduced a number of gun reform bills in 2021. After at least 19 elementary students and two adults were killed Tuesday at an Uvalde, Texas, school, Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday tried to move legislation, but their attempts failed in the GOP-controlled Legislature.

“Every one of the recent tragedies we’ve seen is one too many, but the nearly unending nature of these mass murders is staggering. We are standing exactly where we have stood for years — demanding support of reasonable and responsible changes to protect our children,” said House Minority Leader Donna Lasinksi (D-Scio Township). “Inaction is simply unacceptable. We are ready.”

State Rep. Felicia Brabec (D-Pittsfield Twp.) offered an amendment to require passage of legislation mandating universal background checks on firearm purchases. State Rep. Mari Manoogian (D-Birmingham) offered an amendment to require passage of legislation mandating secure storage of guns in homes with minor children.

The measures were rejected by the House.




Magazine Capacity Limits

House Bills 56275628 & Senate Bills 785786: Would prohibit selling or possessing a magazine capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition, beginning on January 1, 2023. Introduced on Dec. 9, 2021.

Protecting Victims of Domestic Violence

House Bills 53715372 & Senate Bills 678679: Prohibit abusers convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence offenses from possessing guns for 8 years. Introduced on Oct. 6, 2021.

Gun Violence Prevention Funding

House Bill 5174: Provides funding for a gun violence prevention program in Ingham County. Introduced on June 29, 2021.

Safe Storage Package

House Bill 5066 & Senate Bill 550: Require firearms to be properly secured to prevent accidental injury/death when the firearms could be accessible to minors. The bills create criminal penalties for failing to secure a firearm that is obtained by a minor and possessed in public or used in a reckless manner or to inflict injury or death. Introduced on June 17, 2021.

House Bill 5067 & Senate Bill 551: Exempt firearm safety devices (including locks and safes) from the sales tax. Introduced on June 17, 2021.

House Bill 5068 & Senate Bill 552: Exempt firearm safety devices (including locks and safes) from the use tax. Introduced on June 17, 2021.

House Bill 5069 & Senate Bill 553: Companion bills that amend the sentencing guidelines to include the new felony penalty created by HB 5066 and SB 550.Introduced on June 17, 2021.

Universal Background Checks

House Bills 48694871 / Senate Bills 454456: Require universal background checks on all guns. Introduced on May 18, 2021.

Restoring Local Control

Senate Bill 352: Allow local governments to ban guns on property owned or leased by local governments. Introduced on April 13, 2021. 



In the Senate, Democrats used a procedural move to discharge four safe gun storage bills from committee so the full Senate could vote on them. However, the Republican majority then sent the bills to the Government Operations Committee. State Sen. Dayna Polehanki (D-Livonia) tweeted that that is where “bills go to die.”

Sen. Ken Horn (R-Frankenmuth) opposed taking up the bills.

“There are political solutions. But there are just as many spiritual solutions,” he said.

Polehanki said that Wednesday’s session was cut short by Republican leadership to “prevent Dems from giving speeches about Uvalde.”

Oxford High School, Dec. 3, 2021 // Allison R. Donahue / Michigan Advance

Michigan experienced its own mass shooting at Oxford High School in November, leaving four students dead and seven people injured. The gunman, 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley, is charged with murder and other counts for carrying out the shootings with a gun gifted to him by his parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley.

“From school shootings to suicides, so many of the tragedies we are sadly accustomed to are preventable,” Manoogian said. “The very least we can do as a society is to make sure that children don’t have access to guns.”

Sen. Rosemary Bayer (D-Beverly Hills) and Rep. Brenda Carter (D-Pontiac), the co-chairs of the Michigan legislative Firearm Safety and Violence Prevention Caucus, said in a statement Wednesday they are “outraged and disturbed at the lack of policy solutions, votes, and action … not only from Michigan’s elected Republicans, but from elected Republicans around the country who refuse to even acknowledge that gun violence is a public health crisis.


Allison R. Donahue covers education, women’s issues and LGBTQ issues for Michigan Advance. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8. When she is away from her desk, she spends her time going to concerts, comedy shows or getting lost on hikes in different places around the world.

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