LANSING, Mich. (WZMQ) – UPDATE 11/1: House Bill 4945, and Senate Bills 471, and 528 passed in the House 48 to 42. the Senate bills will now be sent to the governor for a signature, while 4945 must first see review in the Senate.
New gun reform legislation is expected to see a final vote in the House this week. The two bills, first introduced in the Michigan Senate in September, would prohibit anyone convicted of misdemeanors involving domestic violence from possessing firearms and ammunition.
The Coalition called End Gun Violence Michigan has been a big proponent of the legislation. Heath Lowry, staff attorney With the End Gun Violence and End Domestic and Sexual Violence Coalitions, said that with domestic violence homicides on the rise the past few years, this legislation provides important protections.
“We know that domestic violence is five times more likely to end in death if there’s access to a firearm for the perpetrator,” Lawry said. “We’re trying to close a loophole in our law that allows these dangerous individuals to be able to possess firearms and put lives at risk.”
New studies from the Brady United Organization are showing domestic violence homicides are up 22% since 2018. With October being domestic violence awareness month Lawry said these bills are an important sign from the state that they care about survivors and making sure that they are protected in every way possible.
Currently, the Michigan penal code prohibits a person convicted of a felony from possessing, transporting, selling, purchasing, shipping, receiving, or distributing a firearm or ammunition in Michigan until three years have passed since the person paid any fines, served any imprisonment, and completed any conditions of parole or probation for the violation.
The bills would make it a felony for individuals who had been convicted of misdemeanors involving domestic violence to possess firearms or ammunition within 8 years of completing any probationary conditions.
“While this law will not end all violent and deadly aspects of domestic violence,” Lawry said. “Studies have shown a measurable difference in other states with similar laws, between 10 and 14% reductions in homicides for domestic violence, and it saves one life it’s worth it.”
While some see these bills as a way to protect victims of domestic violence, others are raising concerns that some of the restrictions go too far.
Avery Smith, owner of 906 Concealed Carry, said that he believes gun owners with a proven history of violence should have their gun rights forfeited, but he worries the legislation goes even further than federal statutes into what he considers overstepping.
“If the bill would mimic what’s already on the federal books we wouldn’t have a problem with it, but they kind of go above and beyond that, and that’s where I think the problem is.”
the bills are expected to see a vote in the House soon after passing, 22 to 16 in the Senate. Lawry said he hopes to see the legislation signed by the governor before the end of Domestic Violence Awareness Month