UNITED STATES NEWS

New gun laws take effect on one-year anniversary of Michigan State University shooting

Feb 12, 2024, 2:32 PM

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Professor Marco Díaz-Muñoz spent the past year trying to suppress the images, seared into his memory, of the gunman who entered his classroom at Michigan State University, killed two of his students and left others with critical wounds.

He expects a flood of emotions this week on the anniversary of the Feb. 13, 2023 mass shooting, which also claimed the life of a third student at the university union and terrorized the East Lansing campus for nearly four hours.

“It was the sixth week. It was February. The class was from 7 to 9 in the evening. It was cold. And I’m going to be teaching the exact same lecture and lesson,” Díaz-Muñoz told The Associated Press. “So everything I do is going to remind me of what happened.”

Tuesday’s classes were canceled and a remembrance gathering was planned for the three students who lost their lives — Brian Fraser, Arielle Anderson and Alexandria Verner.

Tuesday also is when Michigan’s sweeping new gun regulations take effect, implementing background checks for all gun purchases, safe storage requirements and red flag laws, also known as extreme risk protection orders.

“The tragedy cannot be undone,” said Díaz-Muñoz, who testified in favor of the new laws. “There’s nothing that can compensate for that. But there is hope in moving forward and pushing forward for change.”

Anyone who wants to buy a gun in Michigan must now pass a background check, and gun owners must safely store all firearms and ammunition in the presence of minors.

The red flag law enables family members, police, mental health professionals, roommates and former dating partners to petition a judge to remove firearms from people who they believe pose an imminent threat to themselves or others.

The three new laws were a part of a sweeping gun safety package that had been initially drafted after the 2021 Oxford High School shooting in which four students died and others, including a teacher, were wounded.

A Michigan jury convicted that shooter’s mother of involuntary manslaughter last week, making her the first parent in the U.S. to be held responsible for a child carrying out a mass school shooting. Gun accessibility was an issue in the trial and investigators say Jennifer and James Crumbley failed to properly secure the gun. James Crumbley faces trial on the same charge next month.

Initially stalled in 2021 with the Legislature under Republican control, the gun safety package gained momentum after Democrats secured the House and Senate in the 2022 midterm elections. The MSU shooting intensified efforts, with Oxford and MSU students rallying at the Capitol to demand stricter gun laws.

“Once we won the majority, we knew we were going to be able to pass these laws. So our plan was to get it ready as quickly as we could, try to get the packages through the Senate,” said state Sen. Rosemary Bayer, who represented Oxford and has been a leading advocate for gun control.

“Then Michigan State happened, and the governor just looked at us and said, ‘I want to do it right now,’” Bayer said.

Safe storage and background checks were approved two months after the MSU shooting, following weeks of testimony from those impacted by the shootings and other gun violence. The red flag law was more controversial, and was signed by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer just over a month later.

And in November, Whitmer signed yet another a measure that prohibits individuals with domestic violence convictions — even misdemeanors — from possessing firearms for at least eight years.

Gun control advocates aren’t done: MSU students plan to meet with lawmakers and stage a sit-in at the Capitol on Thursday “to demand continued action on gun violence prevention.”

Democrats are on record as willing to go further, with some leaders open to banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. They will likely need to wait until after April, however, with the state House being deadlocked temporarily due to two Democratic representatives stepping down.

Questions linger over how well the new laws will be implemented. The red flag measure has faced local pushback in a state where gun-owning culture runs deep. Over half the state’s counties have passed resolutions declaring themselves Second Amendment “sanctuaries,” opposing laws they believe infringe on gun rights.

Red flag laws have been touted as the most powerful tools to stop gun violence before it happens, but an Associated Press analysis in 2022 found that they are barely used in the states where they exist. Firearms were removed from people 15,049 times since 2020, but that’s fewer than 10 per 100,000 adult residents, far too rare to make a dent in the death toll, according to the analysis.

“I view it as a beginning,” Díaz-Muñoz said. “The violence and the epidemic that we’re seeing is symptomatic of something else. And until we address that something else, there’s no amount of gun laws that can prevent completely, or minimize more significantly, what is happening.”

United States News

Associated Press

Federal appeals court says there is no fundamental right to change one’s sex on a birth certificate

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A federal appeals court panel ruled 2-1 on Friday that Tennessee does not unconstitutionally discriminate against transgender people by not allowing them to change the sex designation on their birth certificates. “There is no fundamental right to a birth certificate recording gender identity instead of biological sex,” 6th U.S. Circuit Court […]

19 minutes ago

FILE - A version of a proposed Mississippi Senate redistricting map is displayed on a computer moni...

Associated Press

Mississippi must move quickly on a court-ordered redistricting, say voting rights attorneys

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi should work quickly to fulfill the court-ordered redrawing of some legislative districts to ensure more equitable representation for Black residents, attorneys for voting rights groups said in a new court filing Friday. The attorneys also said it’s important to hold special elections in the reconfigured state House and Senate districts […]

29 minutes ago

Associated Press

A US judge is reining in the use of strip searches amid a police scandal in Louisiana’s capital city

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The use of strip searches by police in Louisiana’s capital city was reined in Friday by a federal judge who said the policy under which Baton Rouge officers perform such searches on people who haven’t been arrested is “unconstitutional on its face.” U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick’s order came in litigation […]

47 minutes ago

FILE - Police tape blocks the boarded-up residence of Timothy Haslett on Oct. 10, 2022, in Excelsio...

Associated Press

One woman escaped a ‘dungeon’ beneath a Missouri home, another was killed. Here’s a look at the case

LIBERTY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri man facing trial on kidnapping and sexual assault charges after a woman said she escaped weeks in his captivity was arraigned Friday on a new charge of murder. Authorities say they linked him to the remains of a woman found in a barrel by the Missouri River. The case […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

375-pound loggerhead sea turtle returns to Atlantic Ocean after 3 months of rehab in Florida

COCOA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A 375-pound (170-kilogram) sea turtle has been released back into the Atlantic Ocean after three months of rehabilitation in Florida. Officials with the Brevard Zoo released a male loggerhead named Bubba Wednesday afternoon in Cocoa Beach. Biologists with Inwater Research found Bubba in St. Lucie County on April 10, officials […]

1 hour ago

FILE - Brian Steven Smith watches proceedings during the opening day of his double murder trial, Tu...

Associated Press

Man gets 226-year prison sentences for killing 2 Alaska Native women. He filmed the torture of one

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A man who killed two Alaska Native women and was heard while videotaping the torture death of one say that in his movies “everybody always dies” was sentenced Friday to 226 years in prison. Brian Steven Smith received 99-year sentences each for the deaths of Kathleen Henry, 30, and Veronica Abouchuk, […]

1 hour ago

Sponsored Articles

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

...

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.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

New gun laws take effect on one-year anniversary of Michigan State University shooting