In light of the Oxford school shooting, Michigan lawmakers are evaluating gun laws and debating whether to expand them. Here's what you should know.
Current Gun Regulations
In MI, gun owners must follow several regulations regarding gun safety, licensing, registration, and use.
- To purchase a handgun, gun owners must obtain a permit. To buy a rifle or shotgun, a permit is not necessary.
- All handguns must be registered
- To possess a concealed handgun, gun owners need a permit to carry it. Rifles and shotguns do not have specific permits for concealed carry.
- Anyone who commits a felony with a firearm faces a two-year mandatory prison sentence.
- People over 18 but younger than 21 may purchase a handgun from state-approved dealers.
- Federally licensed dealers are not permitted to sell guns to people under 21 years of age
Those who support stricter gun laws aim for possession and gun safety restrictions. There is already a strict two-year mandatory minimum sentence for gun-related felonies, but lawmakers are pushing for universal background checks and other conditions.
Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald is leading the charge for stricter gun laws. She says that any debate over gun safety laws should address responsible gun ownership.
"To prevent further tragedies like the one we witnessed […], we have got to address responsible gun ownership […]. Responsible gun ownership, including the security of a gun, is an absolute imperative to protect our community today and in the future."
Ethan Crumbley's parents legally purchased a handgun for their son, but it's unclear what steps they took, if any, to secure the weapon and ensure safety. To ignite the gun law debate, Prosecutor Karen McDonald says she will do her best to prosecute not only Ethan but his parents to set a precedent of no tolerance for gun violence.
The Gun Debate
From the National Rifle Association (NRA) to lawmakers and law enforcement, the gun debate is ongoing and becomes more or less critical depending on recent events. Typically, after a school shooting or tragedy associated with a firearm, there are inevitably those who call for more gun laws and those who oppose gun restrictions.
Unfortunately, gun violence is an epidemic in the United States. Since the 1990s and the Columbine school shooting, people have become more aware of the dangers of relaxed regulations and open access to firearms.
Domestic terrorists with hundreds of rounds and semiautomatic weapons and underage school shooters have become the faces of cautionary tales that call for better laws. These horrifying cases have created a culture of fear and distrust of weapons – an outcome that frustrates gun rights groups.
The NRA has repeatedly come against legislation that limits or bans guns. For gun rights groups, regulations attack their Second Amendment right to bear arms. While outright bans do essentially remove the ability for Americans to bear arms, safety regulations only limit the ways people can use and store their firearms.
The gun rights debate in Michigan will continue to be a pain point for legislators and law enforcement. While the state has some restrictions, the Oxford school shooting has led many critics to ask for stricter regulations that would limit access to firearms. It's unclear how the state will handle the situation, but Michigan's gun laws remain unchanged for now.
If you have been charged with violating gun laws, contact White Law PLLC.