MichMash: Michigan Democrats may pursue gun reform with control of state Legislature next session

Bridge Michigan Capitol Reporter Yue Stella Yu talks with Cheyna Roth about her recent reporting on potential gun reform bills being introduced in 2023.  

Gun reform has been a hot topic in Michigan and across the nation for years, but without a lot of change. MichMash host Cheyna Roth is joined by Yue Stella Yu of Bridge Michigan to talk about how this issue could get different treatment next year.


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In this episode: 

  • Bridge Michigan Capitol Reporter Yue Stella Yu talks with host Cheyna Roth about her recent reporting on potential gun reform bills being introduced in 2023.  
  • Michigan House Speaker Joe Tate and Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks said they’re seeking policies that establish safe storage laws, red flag laws and universal background checks.  
  • Decisions on a $200 million sewer fund and moving up Michigan’s primary will wait until next session.  

It’s been a challenge to pass gun control laws in Michigan, but things may be easier now that democrats control the Senate, House and governor’s office. Bridge Michigan reporter Yue Stella Yu recently wrote about gun reform measures and policies that may be introduced in 2023.  

“Governor Whitmer has already said that gun control will be a priority for her,” says Yu. “I’ve interviewed some Democratic leaders who have also mentioned reintroducing some of the packages that had long been stalled by committees controlled by Republicans.” 

Incoming Michigan House Speaker Joe Tate and Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks said they’ll be looking at three packages that seek to establish safe storage laws, red flag laws and universal background checks.

There’s a lack of studies around gun reform policies because of the 1996 Dickey Amendment that restricted funding for studies on or promoting gun control, says Yu. Research on gun control has been privately funded for decades.  

Most gun control studies have focused on safe storage laws, says Yu.  

“I’ve read about more than a dozen (safe storage studies), you know, it’s really a mixed bag in that it’s really complicated,” says Yu.

“Most safe storage studies, though, have shown that in one way or another, safe storage laws could reduce the risk of either firearm suicides, firearm injuries among children, shootings performed by children either accidentally or school shootings.” 

Illinois, Florida and California are states that use red flag laws the most, says Yu. More time and data is needed for researchers to better understand the impact of universal background checks and red flag laws due to how recently they’ve been passed.  

“But I guess one interesting thing really is that among the states that have red flag laws, not a lot of states are actually using them,” says Yu.

“Some experts have said the reason for the lack of usage of red flag laws is because people either don’t know them or enforcement is weak.” 

Dec. 31 marks the end of Michigan’s legislative session for the year, and things are quiet in congress. Democrats and republicans couldn’t come to an agreement on a $200 million sewer fund or moving up Michigan’s primary from March to February. Both are expected to be taken up in the next session.  

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