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, reports the Associated Press. The red flag law enables family members, police, mental health professionals, roommates and former dating partners to ask 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. The gun safety package gained momentum after Democrats secured the House and Senate in the 2022 midterm elections. The Michigan State University shooting intensified efforts, with Oxford and MSU students rallying at the Capitol to demand stricter gun laws.
Safe storage and background checks were approved two months after the MSU shooting following weeks of testimony. The red flag law was more controversial, and was signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer just over a month later. Whitmer signed another measure in November 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 will meet with lawmakers and stage a sit-in at the Capitol on Thursday “to demand continued action on gun violence prevention.” Questions linger over how well the new laws will be implemented. The red flag law faces local pushback in a state where gun-owning culture runs deep.