AP

Dems renew push for gun-control bills after Oxford shooting

Dec 1, 2021, 1:13 PM | Updated: 9:53 pm

Michigan Sen. Rosemary Bayer, D-Beverly Hills, speaks about a mass shooting at Oxford High School, ...

Michigan Sen. Rosemary Bayer, D-Beverly Hills, speaks about a mass shooting at Oxford High School, which is in her district, on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, at the state Capitol in Lansing, Mich. Bayer and other Democrats plan to push for new gun-control bills and revived stalled legislation in the Republican-led Legislature. (AP Photo/David Eggert)

(AP Photo/David Eggert)

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Democrats vowed Wednesday to push new gun-control legislation and to try to revive stalled bills in Michigan’s Republican-led Legislature following a mass shooting that left four high school students dead and others with serious injuries.

But GOP leaders, who have long opposed such measures and have favored looser restrictions, did not immediately commit to policy changes.

“We can’t do nothing,” Sen. Rosemary Bayer, a Democrat whose district includes Oxford High School, told reporters after senators held a moment of silence for the dead. “We have to take action. Right this minute, today, I think I really, really want to focus on the families and … just trying to help them know that we’re here for them, that we’re supporting them in any way we can.”

Earlier this year, mass shootings in Georgia and Colorado reignited calls from gun-control advocates for tighter restrictions on buying firearms and ammunition. But with Democrats in control of the federal government, gun-rights advocates have been persuading Republican-run legislatures to go the other way, and make it easier to obtain and carry guns.

Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who opposes relaxing restrictions, said gun violence is a public health crisis. She called for unspecified “actions” beyond “thoughts and prayers” but did not elaborate. She has previously backed a measure that would let judges order the seizure of firearms from people who pose a significant risk to themselves or others.

In June, Bayer introduced legislation aimed at holding accountable adults who fail to secure their firearms. The 15-year-old charged in Tuesday’s slayings, Ethan Crumbley, illegally had a handgun that his father had bought four days earlier, authorities said.

The bill would require adults to keep a firearm in a securely locked container if they know it is accessible to minors. If a minor obtained the gun and used it to kill or injure, the adult would face up to five years in prison. There would be exceptions if minors have permission for activities like target practice and hunting.

Republicans have not held a hearing on the measure or other gun-control legislation.

“If we get obsessed with eliminating all risks, we will then develop and evolve into a country we won’t recognize because we’ll also have no freedoms,” Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey said. “It’s a balance. It’s a very narrow road. It is hard. These kind of events keep those thoughts in mind.”

He suggested there probably had been warning signs about the shooter, and he questioned how the teen accessed the gun.

“Those kinds of things are already controllable but for maybe just missing the signs,” Shirkey said.

But Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald, a Democrat whose office charged Crumbley, called for policy changes without specifying further.

“If the incident yesterday with four children being murdered and multiple kids being injured is not enough to revisit our gun laws, I don’t know what is. … We need to make sure and want to know that when we send our kids to school, they’re safe. Responsible gun ownership is imperative. It’s critical.”

Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard, a Republican former legislator whose office is investigating the shooting, said gun laws are not being utilized and violators are being allowed to take plea deals.

“I believe the surest way to get a handle on holding people accountable when they’re doing things illegally with a gun is to punish them. That’s not happening in many communities across America today,” he said.

Democratic-sponsored legislation introduced this session or in past years would, among other things, exempt firearm safety devices from the state’s sales tax and expand universal background checks to all gun sales.

Republican-backed bills would remove the general requirement to obtain a license to carry a concealed pistol. Rep. Steve Carra, a Three Rivers Republican running for Congress, said he was drafting legislation to let teachers and school staff store their personal weapons in lockboxes in case of an attack.

One area where lawmakers have found common ground in the past is security funding.

Michigan awarded $50 million in safety grants to schools in 2018 and 2019 following the mass shooting at a Florida high school that claimed 17 lives. Legislators and Whitmer canceled $10 million in funding planned for 2020 due to economic declines during the coronavirus pandemic, did not provide funds in 2021 and authorized $10 million for school-safety grants in 2022.

A spending proposal advancing in the House includes $10 million to help schools cover the cost of school-based law enforcement officers.

___

Follow David Eggert at https://twitter.com/DavidEggert00

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Several hundred students and pro-Palestinian supporters rally at the intersection of Grove and Coll...

Associated Press

Pro-Palestinian protests sweep US college campuses following mass arrests at Columbia

Columbia canceled in-person classes, dozens of protesters were arrested at New York University and Yale, and the gates to Harvard Yard were closed to the public Monday.

1 day ago

Ban on sleeping outdoors under consideration in Supreme Court...

Associated Press

With homelessness on the rise, the Supreme Court weighs bans on sleeping outdoors

The Supreme Court is wrestling with major questions about the growing issue of homelessness as it considers a ban on sleeping outdoors.

1 day ago

Arizona judge declares mistrial in case of rancher who shot migrant...

Associated Press

Arizona judge declares mistrial in the case of a rancher accused of fatally shooting a migrant

An Arizona judge declared a mistrial in the case of rancher accused of killing a Mexican man on his property near the U.S.-Mexico border.

1 day ago

Donald Trump appears in court for opening statements in his criminal trial for allegedly covering u...

Associated Press

Trump tried to ‘corrupt’ the 2016 election, prosecutor alleges as hush money trial gets underway

Donald Trump's criminal trial in New York over alleged hush money payments started with opening statements on Monday.

2 days ago

This satellite image from Planet Labs PBC shows Iran's nuclear site in Isfahan, Iran, April 4, 2024...

Associated Press

Israel, Iran play down apparent Israeli strike. The muted responses could calm tensions — for now

Israel and Iran are both playing down an apparent Israeli airstrike near a major air base and nuclear site in central Iran.

4 days ago

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., talks to reporters just after lawmakers pushed a $95 bill...

Associated Press

Ukraine, Israel aid advances in rare House vote as Democrats help Republicans push it forward

The House pushed ahead Friday on a foreign aid package of $95 billion for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and other sources of humanitarian support.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

Dems renew push for gun-control bills after Oxford shooting