Restrictions to gun ownership and improvements to firearm safety are again a hot topic in the state Legislature following Tuesday’s mass shooting at Oxford High School.
The Michigan Senate held an intense session Thursday with emotions raw over Tuesday’s shooting that killed four students and wounded seven more people, including a student who remained in critical condition Thursday.
Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak) says innocent people are paying the price for others’ right to bear arms.
“Any time anyone brings up any ideas to help stop gun violence and put safety measures in place, we hear outcries of freedom,” she said. “We hear that it is a right, that it shall not be infringed. But what about the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Why are children’s lives worth less than guns?”
McMorrow criticized her GOP colleagues for doing nothing. Calls by Democrats to enact restrictions on gun ownership and improvements to firearm safety have largely gone ignored by legislative Republicans.
“Every time we’re told that now is not the time to talk about policy change, now is not the time to push an agenda,” she said. “Every time it’s not the time for the past 22 years since Columbine.”
“So I’m not going to stand up here today and ask you to do something because you’ve already made that choice, but if you’re not going to do anything then get out of the way so that some of us can at the very least try,” she said.
Sen. Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan) took exception to McMorrow’s comment, calling it an insult. He said the focus shouldn’t be on guns but on ending abortion.
“We’re not unsympathetic to these things. How dare anybody imply that? Especially people who at the same time are celebrating the millions of lives snuffed out annually,” he said.
He said the rights in the First Amendment also pose a threat.
“Freedom of speech. Freedom of religion. These things endanger people to some degree too,” McBroom said.
McBroom accused Democrats of having no solutions to the violence. He said guns aren’t the real problem.
“Tell us what you’d like to do. Tell us what it is that would solve these problems because the problem is the human condition, bad people sinful people, people who are willing to do violence,” McBroom said.
Over the past five years, Democrats have introduced several bills that would restrict gun ownership by using so-called Red Flag laws and expanding background checks. Republican leaders have refused to give the bills a committee hearing.
Sen. Dayna Polehanki (D-Livonia) said, “We have lots of bills that have been introduced, background check bills. We’re gonna have a magazine capacity bill, red flag bills and primarily safe storage bills that could have could have mitigated this whole tragedy. So don’t say that there’s no solutions. There are plenty of solutions. But where is the will of the majority party to do something.”