guns

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Ypsilanti's city council approved body cameras for police officers at Tuesday night’s meeting in city hall.

Police Chief Tony DeGiusti requested the cameras as part of a series of overdue updates to the department’s deteriorating patrol car cameras, microphones and the DVD burning system police use to make copies of patrol videos for lawyers.

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.

Daniel Weber / Flickr

"Children deserve to feel safe wherever they live, play and learn."

Those words came from the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics just a few days after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School and they sum up the feelings of some physicians from coast to coast.

There's a new group in Michigan trying to bring attention to gun violence. The group is made up of doctors.

Stateside's Cynthia Canty recently spoke with Dr. Jerry Walden, a family practice physician who was named "Family Physician of the Year" by the Michigan Academy of Family Practice.

Dr. Andy Zweifler, an internist and an emeritus professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School is also a member of the group Physicians for the Prevention of Gun Violence.

They joined us today.

*Listen to the interview above.

Dustin Dwyer

Last month, a disagreement on a residential street in Muskegon turned into a massive gun battle. Six men were armed. Dozens of shots sprayed in all directions.

At the house directly behind the gunfight, three children played on a porch.

And one woman ran into the line of fire to try to save them.

Today we begin a three-part series about the incident, and look at how the dramatic rise of gun crimes in Muskegon is putting more kids at risk.

DETROIT (AP) - Supporters of a statewide student safety hotline modeled after a Colorado program established in the wake of the 1999 Columbine High School massacre hope to clear a final hurdle once schools resume.

Gov. Rick Snyder signed a budget bill this month that includes money to develop and run the OK-2-SAY hotline for anonymous reports of threats and violence. But the green light to launch it requires legislative action by Michigan House after lawmakers return in late August.

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.

Location of L'Anse Creuse High School.
Google Maps

Just in case you were thinking about it, you might want to reconsider walking into a school at 6 a.m. dressed in camouflage, a flak jacket, and a holster.

When a 21-year-old airman from the Selfridge Air National Guard appeared at L'Anse Creuse High School in Harrison Twp. this morning, he caused several schools to shutdown.

From the Port Huron Times Herald:

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Arrests down as violent crimes rise in Detroit

Even though violent crime is up in Detroit, less people are getting arrested, the Detroit News reports.

"The fourth quarter of 2012 saw significantly fewer arrests in most precincts and districts compared with previous years — and the largest declines were in some of the city's most crime-ridden areas. . . Some inside the Detroit Police Department blame low officer morale."

Kilpatrick trial to wrap up today

"Courtroom proceedings in ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s federal corruption case should wrap up today. Prosecutors spent months making a painstaking case against Kwame Kilpatrick, his father Bernard, and longtime friend and city contractor Bobby Ferguson. The government says the men ran Detroit city government like a criminal enterprise for years. They all face a number of federal charges, including conspiracy and extortion," Sarah Cwiek reports.
 

Lansing police gun buyback collects 122 firearms

"Lansing police say their latest gun buyback program has brought in 122 firearms. The Lansing State Journal reports that people turned in 73 handguns, 47 long guns and two assault or military style guns," The Associated Press Reports.

Dawud Walid / Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations

A Michigan group wants gun shops to stop selling targets that depict a man wearing traditional Muslim attire. 

The paper target shows the skeleton of a  bearded man wearing a turban and robe, holding an assault rifle.

Dawud Walid is with the Michigan Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. He says he bought a couple of the targets at a Royal Oak gun shop.

Walid says he introduced himself to the store owner, and explained his concern that the targets could encourage violence against Muslims.

User: Brother O'Mara / Flickr

Political winds flame gun and ammo sales in Michigan

President Obama called on Congress and the American public to support new gun control plans yesterday in Minneapolis. While public support for some kinds of gun control measures is up, others continue to stock up fearing coming gun restrictions.

MLive reports gun and ammunition sales are surging as gun control political winds blow:

In December, the FBI ran 59,445 background checks for guns sales in Michigan, the highest monthly total in the state since the database started in 1998. The second highest monthly total was October 2001 when the FBI ran 46,270 background checks.

Michigan leaders want changes to state's no-fault insurance

If you're seriously injured in an automobile accident in Michigan, the current insurance laws in the state set you up with lifetime medical and rehabilitation coverage for your injuries. But state lawmakers want that changed.

This morning, the Detroit News profiles Sam Howell. He's benefiting from the state's current insurance laws. The News points out why Gov. Snyder and other lawmakers think changes to the current system are necessary:

Snyder says the reforms are necessary to rein in no-fault auto insurance rates in Michigan that rank among the highest in the country — particularly in Detroit — and tackle a $2 billion unfunded liability in the state's catastrophic auto accident fund the insurance industry says is unsustainable without severe cost controls.

As Michigan Radio's Lester Graham has reported, many things influence overall insurance rates in the state, and some argue if these benefits are capped, taxpayers will step in to foot the bill:

Opponents also say capping injury benefits will force the most severely injured accident victims to turn to Medicaid and welfare once they reach the insurance cap and exhaust all their family resources. They estimate it will shift $30 million a year to taxpayers.

Snowmobile event in upper Michigan canceled in wake of Caleb Moore's death

Michigan's Turtle Creek Casino and Hotel near Traverse City was planning to hold a snowmobile freestyle event this Friday and Saturday (Feb. 8 and 9), but the group overseeing the event has canceled in the wake of the tragic death of snowmobile freestyler Caleb Moore.

More from the Detroit Free Press:

The ISOC, which overseas and promotes snocross racing with the AMSOIL Championship Snocross series, has also withdrawn snowmobile freestyle competition from Wisconsin's Lake Geneva Resort stop March 15-16.

Moore, 25, died in hospital from injuries suffered when his snowmobile landed on top of him after he crashed attempting a back flip on his 500-pound machine in men's snowmobile freestyle Jan. 24 in Aspen, Colo. It was the first death in the 18-year history of the X Games.

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A gun charge filed against former state House Speaker Craig DeRoche has been dismissed.

The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled a charge of possessing a firearm while intoxicated violated his Second Amendment rights.
    
DeRoche was charged with being drunk while possessing a firearm in the summer of 2010.

His mother-in-law told police he had locked himself in one of his children’s bedrooms with a 40-caliber-handgun. But, by the time police arrived, she had already taken the gun and hidden it.
    
DeRoche challenged the criminal charge as a violation of his Second Amendment rights.

The Court of Appeals agreed and said, since the gun had been moved away from him to another part of the house, he was only near the firearm – not in possession of it.

The court decision says to rule otherwise would be too restrictive – essentially, people in a residence with a firearm anywhere in it could not consume alcohol.
    
DeRoche served as the state House Republican leader from 2005 to 2008. He says he has quit drinking.

A group of Michigan clergy wants state lawmakers to drop a number of pro-gun bills.

Faith leaders held a prayer service today at the state Capitol to protest the measures. Clergy members sang hymns as they marched to the Capitol.

Each held a yellow card with the name of a child from their community killed by gun violence.

“We’re going to fill the heavens, the atmosphere with prayers," said Flint pastor Ken Boykins. "We mean business. We’re not going to back off. And something has to be done.”

Michigan Senate

A Republican legislator says he will introduce a bill soon that would let school boards decide whether to let teachers and parents  bring concealed guns into school buildings.

State Senator Mike Green (R-Mayville) says it's his new alternative to a measure vetoed by Governor Rick Snyder last year.

That bill would have ended schools' status as gun-free zones under Michigan's concealed weapons law. Green says this would give the option to school boards.

"There's a lot of school teachers that are very well trained that would love to be able to do that. That's coming in a bill I haven't introduced yet, but we've got it on a fast track," said Green.

Green says his legislation could be introduced as soon as this week. There is some question right now whether people with concealed pistol permits may openly carry firearms in Michigan schools.

Governor Snyder says he might be open to the idea, but new gun laws rank low on his list of priorities.

Officer who left gun in Michigan school restroom will keep job

Jan 26, 2013

LAPEER, Mich. (AP) -- Officials say a security officer who left his gun unattended in a Lapeer charter school's restroom will keep his job.

According to Chatfield School Director Matt Young, the school reviewed the incident and has decided the unnamed officer "is a good fit for the position."

This “week in review”, Michigan Radio’s Weekend Edition host Rina Miller and political analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss proposed gun laws in Michigan, who might replace former Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway, and the new hiring rules for emergency financial managers in the state.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder is weighing in on the debate over guns laws going on at the state Capitol. There are a number of new bills related to guns pending. Snyder was asked if he supports any of the proposed changes at events in Grand Rapids Friday.

Not to downplay the importance of gun rights or guns laws, but Governor Snyder just doesn’t think guns in general have a big part in his plan to “reinvent Michigan.” He says lawmakers in Lansing should let the debate over gun control run its course at the federal level first.

“In the meantime we could get a lot done on jobs, infrastructure, education; a lot of important topics. So I would prefer we stay on those topics,” Snyder said.

Snyder says he would consider improvements to the state's mental health system before focusing on changes to its gun laws.

user Joshuashearn / wikimedia commons

The first bill passed this year by the Michigan Senate would change the state’s definition of a “federally-licensed firearms dealer”.

Supporters of the measure say it’s just a technical fix to make state law consistent with federal regulations.

The bill passed easily Thursday with bi-partisan support. But a handful of Democrats voted against it.

State Senator Rebekah Warren said it’s a way to exempt more gun dealers from state regulations.

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Three Michigan gun bills move forward

"A state Senate panel has sent three gun-related bills to the Senate floor. One bill would exempt guns made, sold, and kept in Michigan from federal regulations. Another would remove some information about guns and their owners from public information requests. And a third one makes state laws regarding gun dealers consistent with federal regulations," Jake Neher reports.

Snyder announces Michigan business grant incentives

"State officials say they have approved incentives for 14 business expansions that could generate more than $1 billion in investments and about 4,600 jobs in Michigan. Governor Rick Snyder announced Wednesday the Michigan Strategic Fund approved the performance-based grants for projects across the Lower Peninsula," the Associated Press reports.

Detroit puts more police on the streets

"The Detroit Police Department is launching a major re-organization. Detroit mayor Dave Bing and police officials say the goal is to have 95% of the department staff involved in active policing, rather than administrative work," Sarah Cwiek reports.

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.

cncphotos / flickr

This Week in Michigan Politics, Morning Edition host Christina Shockley and Michigan Radio’s political analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about the end of the lame duck session.

Lessenberry says “this probably has been the most productive and momentous and game changing lame duck session doing back to the 1960s.”

Lessenberry says making Michigan a right to work state was probably the biggest moment in Michigan politics this year.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Governor Snyder vetoes gun bill

Governor Rick Snyder has vetoed legislation that would have allowed people with concealed pistol permits to carry their guns in school buildings. As the Detroit Free Press reports,

"He said that school security measures in Michigan needed a thorough review. He also wants to find a way to better incorporate community mental health workers into schools. Snyder also said in his veto letter to the Legislature that the bill had a fatal loophole that didn't allow for those public institutions -- schools, churches, day care centers and stadiums -- to opt out of the new legislation and prohibit weapons from their buildings. The law specifically addressed only private buildings."

Earlier this week Snyder said the Connecticut shooting would play a role in his decision on the bill.

Snyder's approval rating drops 28 points after right-to-work

"A new poll from a firm that primarily does work for Democrats finds a huge drop in approval for Governor Rick Snyder among Michigan voters. Snyder has a 56-percent disapproval rating, after he supported and signed bills that make it harder for unions to collect dues. That's a 28-point drop," Tracy Samilton reports.

Flint names interim school superintendent

"The Flint school board last night picked a longtime district administrator to be its interim superintendent. Larry Watkins retired from the Flint school district in August. But he applied for the interim job when Flint’s former superintendent announced her retirement last month. Watkins takes charge of a school district that’s running a budget deficit in the millions of dollars," Steve Carmody reports.

JMR Photography / Flickr

Clergy from across the state are expected to rally in Lansing today, and to call on Gov. Snyder to veto legislation that could allow concealed weapons in schools and churches.

On Stateside yesterday, MPRN's Rick Pluta said Snyder is getting an earful from those opposed to the legislation. The Governor says he's looking carefully at the legislation.

Elisha Anderson and Paul Egan of the Detroit Free Press report the bill is unclear on how schools and other public facilities could keep people from carrying concealed weapons if they wanted to, and that's what is giving the Gov. pause.

The headline in one of the Detroit papers today says that in the aftermath of the Connecticut tragedy, schools are struggling to reassure children that they are safe.  Well, I hate to be a downer, but they aren’t.

True -- the odds are heavily against any particular school being attacked by a gunman. But it could happen, and, as we all know, almost certainly will happen again.

We’ve seen this, over and over. What is a little different this time is that, as of this morning, legislation was sitting on Governor Snyder’s desk that would allow those with concealed weapons permits to bring guns into schools.

And not just schools -- churches, synagogues and hospitals, day-care centers and sports stadiums. Friday, after we knew that 20 first graders had been murdered in their classrooms, the governor said he all that gave him “serious pause,” and said he was wondering if, in view of all this, signing it was “appropriate.”

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Snyder says Connecticut shooting will play role in Michigan gun legislation

"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 says the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings will play a role in his thinking. The legislation would allow enhanced concealed pistol privileges for licenseholders who get additional training and range practice," Rick Pluta reports.

Police force down in Michigan

The number of police officers in Michigan is down 16 percent since 2001. As the Detroit News reports,

"Michigan has lost roughly 1 in 5 law enforcement officers since 2001, as a lingering recession led cash-strapped cities and townships to lay off police, trim services and, in some cases, turn over patrols to county sheriffs. The state's law enforcement ranks dropped to 18,834 as of Oct. 31 from 22,488 in 2001, says the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards."

No plan for Detroit's cash crunch

"Lansing is fast-tracking a review of Detroit’s finances, but there’s still no clear short-term plan to address the city's cash crunch. The review process is taking place under a weaker state law than one Governor Snyder is likely to sign soon. That means there are fewer options for dealing with the city’s immediate fiscal crisis. A preliminary state report issued last week found that Detroit 'continues to experience significant cash flow problems.' But the report also notes that 'city projections change from month to month,' and it’s not clear when Detroit would actually run short of cash," Sarah Cwiek reports.

user Curiosandrelics / wikimedia commons

A group wielding handguns and rifles is  probably not something you'd expect to see often in the upscale Detroit suburb of Birmingham, but following the recent gun-related arrest of an area teen, gun rights supporters decided to protest there by packing heat in public.

Sean Combs, 18, was arrested in April while strolling down Old Woodward Ave. with an M-1 rifle. Combs faces misdemeanor charges of brandishing a weapon, resisting and obstructing police, and disturbing the peace, but his supporters say he was within his rights to openly carry the weapon.

As the Detroit News reports, gun advocates gathered last night in Birmingham and packed a town commission meeting with their firearms on full display, even though the commission had no plans to discuss Combs' case.

From the News:

Gun enthusiasts and supporters of "open carry" flocked to the regularly scheduled meeting of the commission, which was not expected to take action or address the charges, to voice their opposition...

"Why ruin the life of an 18-year-old man for the actions of an overzealous police officer?" said John Roshek, president of the Citizens League for Self Defense, a group that works to educate people on their Second Amendment rights and open carry...

In April, Birmingham Police Chief Don Studt acknowledged the constitutionality of Combs' decision to carry his gun, but said "this guy was creating a disturbance and he wouldn't cooperate."

Birmingham Mayor Mark Mickita said he appreciates public input, the News writes, but maintained that "the issue has gone to the courts."

-John Klein Wilson, Michigan Radio Newsroom

user Joshuashearn / wikimedia commons

The Citizens League for Self-Defense plans to hold a "Constitutional Carry" rally in Lansing on May 19.

Their goal is to strip the laws in Michigan that limit a person's ability to carry a concealed handgun.

They're also organizing a petition drive.

The rally comes as Michigan lawmakers debate legislation that would allow permit holders to carry concealed handguns in places where concealed guns are currently off-limits under the law, such as sports stadiums, churches, and schools, so long as they get extra training.

MLive's John Barnes reports, "organizers of the rally would like to take that a step further":

 “We feel that the political climate is getting right for being able to recognize constitutional carry in Michigan,” said John Roshek, president of the Citizens League for Self Defense.

“The goal of the rally is to get Michigan to be the fifth constitutional carry state in the country.”

Currently Alaska, Arizona, Vermont, and Wyoming allow the carrying of concealed firearms without restrictions.

The Citizens League for Self-Defense says the constitution is clear:

The 2nd Amendment is clear, the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. It does not state "Unless you have a license or permission". Until our 2A rights are restored nationwide we support CPL's for the purpose of reciprocity with other states, but they should not be a requirement to carry a concealed pistol.

The amendment states:

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

And here's how that amendment has been interpreted over time from FindLaw.com.

*Correction - an earlier post was titled "Organizers hope to make Michigan sixth 'Constitutional Carry' state." We changed it to "fifth" to reflect states that have no restrictions. Depending on how you count, some count Montana in the group. We also clarified language pertaining to "gun free zones" in Michigan.

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.

Earlier this week, while we were paying a lot of attention to the presidential primary race, many of the big shots in Detroit turned out for a baby’s funeral. Delric Waymon Miller died when a gunman riddled his home with bullets from an AK-47.

That was, by the way, the standard assault rifle used by our ancient enemy, the old Soviet Union. The USSR is as dead as a dinosaur, but its weapons are still killing Americans.

A Question of Guns

Nov 15, 2011

Yesterday was the twentieth anniversary of what was once a nationally famous tragedy; the post office shootings in Royal Oak, Michigan, in which five people died. This was one in a series of similar shootings, which left our language with the memorable term, “going postal.” The Detroit Free Press had an anniversary story about the event, together with the latest installment in their series “Living With Murder.” Well over 3,000 people have been murdered in Detroit in the last decade, almost all of them shot to death.

The newspaper looked at these killings and explored ways to try to stop them.  They wrote about neighborhood groups and citizens who go patrolling with the police.

Mayor Dave Bing said it was a problem of our young people getting “caught up in this violent culture,” and said we needed to stop showing disrespect for each other. I guess he thinks if we all do that and take a few moments to read the gospels, or maybe Martin Niemoller, we’ll be less likely to shoot strangers in the head.

Which may be true, but isn’t really very much of a practical solution. What was almost unbelievable to me, however, was that  there was no mention of doing something about the real problem: Guns. Disrespect doesn‘t kill people. Guns kill people.

Not every murder is committed with a gun. There will always be murders, at least until humans become extinct. But it would be hard to kill 21 people in a restaurant with an axe, and impossible to kill someone with a butcher knife who is three hundred yards away.

GRAND HAVEN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - Police reports say Grand Valley State University officers continued firearms training at a West Michigan gun range after a first report that stray bullets may have struck a home about a half-mile away.

The Grand Rapids Press reports Friday that the documents it obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that the officers were midway through a training session Sept. 29 when a man drove up saying his house had been hit by two bullets.

The police reports say officers at the North Ottawa Rod and Gun Club's rifle range in Grand Haven Township relocated training to an adjacent pistol range.

Later police would learn a contractor working in a nearby development was wounded in the arm.

Allendale-based Grand Valley State University says it's launched an internal investigation.

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