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Whitmer signs bill to create 'red flag' firearm law in Michigan

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signs one of the “red flag” bills that would allow family members, law enforcement officers, and health care professionals to seek court orders to have guns seized from someone deemed an “extreme risk.”
Rick Pluta
/
Michigan Public Radio Network
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signs one of the “red flag” bills that would allow family members, law enforcement officers, and health care professionals to seek court orders to have guns seized from someone deemed an “extreme risk.” (Photo: Rick Pluta/MPRN)

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a law Monday to allow courts to issue “red flag” orders to temporarily seize guns from people deemed a risk to themselves or others.

The governor signed the bill in front of the Royal Oak courthouse in Oakland County, where people are still reeling from the Oxford High School shooting in 2021. Whitmer said they are not alone.

“Only in the United States of America, guns are the No. 1 killer of our kids,” she said. “We must take action, and today I’m proud to say here in Michigan, we are. And so with that, I’m ready to sign the bill.”

Survivors, families and friends of the Oxford High School and Michigan State University mass shootings joined advocates – including former congresswoman and shooting survivor Gabby Giffords – for the ceremony.

This is the third gun safety law signed by the Democratic governor in this legislative term — following universal background checks for gun purchases and safe storage laws.

"We have a mechanism to step in and save lives,” she said. “Extreme risk protection orders also will reduce suicides. People often see warning signs of suicidal ideation in those that they are close to and now they can take action to keep them safe.”

Some Republican prosecutors have said they will not enforce extreme risk protection orders, claiming they would violate rights to bear arms in the Michigan and U.S. Constitutions.

But Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel said she will find a way to enforce extreme risk protection orders in counties where prosecutors, sheriffs, or police departments refuse to do so.

“For those who are in law enforcement who refuse to enforce these important orders, let me say this loudly and clearly: I will make certain that I find someone with jurisdiction who will enforce these orders,” she said.

It’s not clear when the new law will take effect because that hinges on when this legislative session ends. Republican opposition denied the bills super-majority votes on procedural motions that would have allowed the laws to become effective right away.


Copyright 2023 Michigan Radio. To see more, visit Michigan Radio.

Rick Pluta | MPRN