gun control

Today marks a significant historical anniversary that is likely to go largely unnoticed. World War II really began 75 years ago today, when Great Britain and France declared war on Nazi Germany for attacking Poland.

For the next six years, humans violently murdered each other at the rate of about 10 million a year. 

This anniversary is likely to get little notice because so much else is going on – and because historians are busy commemorating the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I.

Now here is a little Michigan news story that isn’t likely to get much notice either. According to Livingston County police, a 69-year-old man was driving a pickup truck yesterday afternoon, when he passed a 43-year-old man driving a smaller vehicle.

They then both were stopped at a traffic light. The younger man got out of his car and approached the truck. And the truck driver shot him to death. Police say they were both from Howell, but didn’t know each other, that this was just a case of road rage.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Supporters and opponents of expanding background checks for gun buyers in Michigan were at the state capitol today.

House Bill 4774 has sat in the state House Judiciary committee for a year without ever being brought up for a committee hearing.  

The bill would expand state background checks to include long guns.

Eighteen years ago, I was teaching a large “survey of the media” class at Wayne State University when word came that there was a verdict in the O.J. Simpson case. I put television on.

This was a Wayne State University class with almost equal numbers of black and white students. When it was announced that OJ had been acquitted of the murders of his wife and her friend, the reaction seemed almost Pavlovian.

The white students were openly disgusted. The black ones, pleased. Times have changed. Today, we have a black President. 

But my guess is that if I had been teaching a similar class when the Trayvon Martin verdict was announced, I would have seen something like a mirror image. Certainly the African-Americans would have been outraged; though I am not sure the white students would have been all that pleased with George Zimmerman’s acquittal.

A former Sandy Hook superintendent and a Newtown police lieutenant will share their experiences at the Schools, Educators, Police, Liaison Association (SEPLA) conference in Mount Pleasant, June 18-20.

Both Janet Robinson, the former Sandy Hook superintendent, and Lieutenant Richard Robinson of the Newtown Police Department were involved in the emergency response to the tragic school shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School this past December.

The conference is open to school administrators and emergency responders. In addition to guest speakers, the conference will offer training sessions and discussion groups. 

Moms Demand Action facebook page

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - About 200 people have turned out at the Michigan Capitol for a rally in favor of putting more restrictions on gun ownership.

They shared the grounds Saturday with dozens of other people who are opposed to new restrictions.

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero told the crowd that "sensible gun laws," not more guns, will make communities safer. The rally included the five Michigan chapters of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. Survivors of gun violence also attended.

A coalition of mayors is urging lawmakers to reject a measure that would make it easier to buy handguns.
flickr

All this week, Bridge Magazine has run a series of in-depth stories delving into Michigan's gun culture.

Guns in Michigan explores a wide range of questions including what happens at the point where gun rights and public safety intersect?

And how pervasive is gun violence in Michigan?

Pat Shellenbarger wrote the series.

He's a writer based in West Michigan. If his name sounds familiar, it could be because he was a reporter and editor at the Detroit News as well as The Grand Rapids Press and the St Petersburg Times.

He joined us on Stateside today, listen to the audio above.

Several Michigan women are on their way to Washington D.C. to lobby members of Congress for stricter national gun laws.  They’ll be part of a major lobbying effort tomorrow. 

This week marks the three month anniversary of the Newtown massacre that left 27 people dead, including 20 children.

Linda Brundage is with the group Moms Demand Action.  She says the group supports the Second Amendment, but it still sees room for new laws to ban assault weapons and limit the size of ammunition magazines.  

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

This week, Lansing will conduct its second gun buyback program in six months.

Violent crime declined in Lansing in 2012, according to the FBI.   But still the capital city recorded a dozen homicides last year.

The gun buyback taking place Saturday is intended to take a few weapons off the streets that might otherwise be used in violent crimes.

People who turn in firearms will receive gift cards worth between $50 to $150, depending on what kind of weapon is surrendered.

Michigan gun law trifecta

Jan 24, 2013
JMR Photography / Flickr

This week, host Jenn White takes a look at Michigan politics with Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants, and Susan Demas, political analyst for Michigan Information and Research Service.

Yesterday, a state senate panel sent three gun related bills to the senate floor. The first would prohibit federal regulation of firearms and ammunition manufactured in Michigan, while the second would exempt certain information about gun owners and their weapons from Freedom of Information requests. The third bill would make state laws regarding gun dealers consistent with federal regulations. 

Although Susan Demas is unsure as to how the bills, which supersede federal regulations would work, she does expect a backlash in court proceedings, if Governor Snyder signs these controversial bills.

"I'm sure we would see a court challenge if Governor Snyder were to receive these bills and sign them. The Senate today did pass the 'low-hanging fruit bill,' the one which seeks to alter language a little bit to keep us in line with the Fed. That's pretty uncontroversial. But this 'Firearms Freedom Act' as it's being called, that's very controversial," Demas said.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Gun rights supporters rallied on the state capitol steps today.   They’re upset about calls to tighten the nation’s gun laws.

Many people at the rally believe the new push for a ban on "military style" assault weapons and limits on the size of magazines and clips is a domestic threat against the U.S. Constitution.   Many at the rally had hand guns strapped to their legs or rifles slung across their backs.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Blue Cross Blue Shield overhaul reintroduced without abortion language

Lawmakers have reintroduced a proposed overhaul of Blue Cross Blue Shield, the Lansing State Journal reports.

"This time it is without the "objectionable language" on abortion that led Gov. Rick Snyder to veto the first package that cleared the Legislature last month. Two Senate bills would convert Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan into a nonprofit mutual insurance company."

Michigan might ignore federal gun control laws

"Michigan may join a small group of states that say they plan to ignore some federal gun control laws. A bill before the state legislature would exempt any guns or ammunition made, sold and kept in Michigan from any new federal regulations," Steve Carmody reports.

Michigan gets $30 million grant to help shop for health coverage

"The federal government is giving Michigan a $30 million  grant to help set up its health care insurance exchange. The exchange is mandated under the Affordable Care Act. It'll help people research and buy health coverage," Rina Miller reports.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Some Michigan lawmakers say they want to exempt guns and ammunition made, sold and kept in the state from new federal gun control laws.

State Senator Phil Pavlov says his bill, Senate Bill 63, is needed to protect law-abiding Michigan gun owners from officials in Washington trying to infringe on their Second Amendment rights.

“We should be responsible for regulating and setting up the framework for our gun laws in the state of Michigan,” says Pavlov,  “We don’t need the federal government to be stepping in and telling us how to run our business.”

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

In their “lame duck” session, state lawmakers passed a number of measures that would change state gun laws.    Governor Rick Snyder vetoed one of those bills last week.

But others are set to become state law.

The governor rejected a bill that would have let people with special permits carry concealed weapons into places like schools, daycares, and churches.

But Snyder signed a measure that would streamline the permitting process for handguns.

formatted_dad / flickr

“No guns” is a pretty simple and common policy in Michigan schools.

Students are expelled for bringing firearms.  But Michigan law is less clear on what schools can do when adults show up with a firearm.

It’s pretty unusual, but it occasionally happens.         

Now, I’m not talking about an armed aggressor, but a parent or some other adult visitor who carries a weapon – either concealed or openly.         

11-year-old Noah Hudson-Peralta wants to remember the young boys and girls who lost their lives in the Sandy Hook tragedy. 

He came up with the idea of Gifts For 20 in honor of the twenty children who passed away.

On Saturday, December 22nd, "Sandy Hook Day", Noah encourages everyone to give presents to disadvantaged children by donating to the Toys for Tots drive in their local area.

Listen to our interview with Noah and his father Ryan Hudson-Peralta above. 

By now, you’ve probably heard that Governor Rick Snyder yesterday vetoed the bill that would have allowed anybody to carry a concealed weapon into elementary schools, or other places, like churches and day care centers, where they are now banned.

This is being hailed as a great victory for gun control. The bill’s sponsor, State Senator Mike Green of Mayville, was very disappointed that the governor wouldn’t sign it.

The fact is, however, that this really isn’t a victory for gun control at all. There are a lot of myths about what happened here. So allow me to try to puncture them.

First of all, it would have been politically impossible for any governor in a major state to have signed this bill four days after the Newtown massacre. But it is important to note that all indications are that Governor Snyder would have vetoed this bill even if 20 first-graders hadn’t been murdered in their classrooms last Friday.

The day before the shooting, Snyder’s director of legislative affairs told Senator Green that the governor would veto it unless schools were given the option to “opt out,” to say, that sorry, we are not allowing concealed weapons here.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder must decide whether to approve or veto legislation that would allow concealed pistols in churches, day care centers, and public schools.

The governor said the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings will play a role in his thinking.         

The legislation would allow enhanced concealed pistol privileges for license holders who get additional training and range practice.

The governor faces growing pressure on the bills from both sides on the question of gun control.      

The governor said on Detroit Public Television the Connecticut school killings are on his mind as he ponders his decision.

“It does impact—you can’t have it not impact you and my thoughts and prayers go with everyone in Connecticut. I know that we all share that view,” Snyder said.

But the governor said he has not made up his mind yet. His administration was officially neutral on the gun bills when they were voted on by the Legislature.

He will have 14 days to decide once the bills are formally presented to him.

Rick Pluta / Michigan Public Radio

These are some wild days in Michigan.

With thousands of protestors at the capitol, Right to Work has become the 1200 lb gorilla in Lansing: it makes the 600 lb gorillas look small.

In other words, with time still left in this lame duck session,  Michiganders could wind up with a whole slew of controversial new laws next year.

Here’s a short list:

A coalition of mayors is urging lawmakers to reject a measure that would make it easier to buy handguns.
flickr

Eight Michigan mayors are urging the state Legislature to reject a measure that would make it easier for people to buy handguns.

The coalition of mayors sent a letter this week to Senate and House leadership and to Governor Rick Snyder. It says a package of bills making its way through the Legislature would add to the difficulties of police trying to protect communities.

The group includes the mayors of Detroit, Flint, Ann Arbor, and Dearborn.   

The legislation would no longer require a person to license a handgun before buying or carrying it. It would also get rid of a registry keeping track of the criminal backgrounds of handgun owners.

Critics of the proposal say there should be background checks on people who buy firearms at gun shows, over the internet, or from private individuals. They say these account for nearly half of all guns purchased in the state.    

The House passed the bills in June. It’s not clear whether the Senate will take it up this year.

JMR Photography / Flickr

John Barnes at MLive.com reports today on potential new changes coming for Michigan's concealed handgun law.

The details of the proposal are expected to be taken up tomorrow morning in the Michigan Senate's Natural Resources, Environment and Great Lakes Committee.

The changes could allow license holders who receive extra training to carry handguns in places currently off-limits under the law, such as sports stadiums, churches, and schools.

Barnes writes that the proposed measure hopes to increase the accuracy of reports on permit holders who violate the law:

Additional measures in the bill are aimed at ensuring mandatory annual reports on permit holders who run afoul of the law are more accurate.

The MLive investigation last summer found many prosecutors and clerks refused to do them. Those that did frequently made mistakes, under-reporting convictions and revocations for gun- and non-gun crimes.

(source Google images)

A Michigan state senator wants to allow people with concealed carry permits to take their weapons into churches, bars and other ‘gun-free zones’.

A decade ago state lawmakers banned gun owners from taking their weapons into certain public places out of fear of gunplay. But State Senator Mike Green of Mayville says experience has shown those fears were unwarranted, since he believes people have been carrying in ‘gun-free zones’ already without incident. 

It was an obstacle ten years ago because people feared, a good, honest, law-abiding citizen would use it in a way that would hurt or harm other people.  But the fact is, in 11 years there’s not been hardly anything that happened like that. 

Green’s legislation would also put the Secretary of State’s office in charge of processing concealed carry permit applications. He says local gun boards are not completing background checks on the applicants fast enough.