LANSING, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – Wednesday morning the Michigan Senate passed a bill package of gun reform pertaining to Extreme Risk Protection Order laws that will head to Governor Gretchen Whitmer for a signature or veto. 

It passed by a margin of three votes along party lines with the final votes 20 in favor and 17 opposed. ERPO laws, also called “red flag” laws, would enable family members, past dating partners, and medical professionals to petition for a court order to remove firearms from an individual deemed a risk to themselves and others. 

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“From families in my district and around the state, there are numerous heartbreaking stories that could have had a different ending, and numerous lives that could have been saved with Extreme Risk Protection Orders,” Senator Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak) said in a statement.

The decision was also commended by Attorney General Dana Nessel who has advocated for heightened ERPO laws after the shooting on the campus of Michigan State University. 

“This law will save lives. What is clear, after years of witnessing horrific gun violence across school campuses, places of worship, and elsewhere, is that some people simply should not have firearms. And often, whether the need to remove a person’s access to a firearm is acute or enduring, there are egregious and abundant warning signs. This law will allow concerned friends, family, and law enforcement to act in a way that prevents senseless gun violence and deaths in our state.” 

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Last week, the bills passed in the House of Representatives, despite more than half of the floor speeches speaking against the package. 

As some representatives, many of whom were former law enforcement, pointed out prior to the voting, law enforcement officers would have to carry out the court order to temporarily confiscate firearms from individuals, the same ones deemed mentally unstable.  Rep. Brad Paquette (R-Niles) commented on how shortly after Maryland passed their own version of Red Flag laws, a man was killed by officers who entered his property to serve the order. 

Chair of the House Judiciary Committee and Representative, Kelly Breen (D-Novi) was the final speaker to address the floor. “Nobody wants to lose a loved one to firearm violence or suicide, nobody wants to see a child accidentally or purposefully lost,” Representative Breen said.

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Other concerns for the package include the scope of who can file a complaint, which includes: medical professionals, family members, a physician, someone residing in the same household, former spouses or those who have had a dating relationship with the individual, and law enforcement. 

Some opponents of the bills have sued to challenge the bills.  Great Lakes Gun Rights and Michigan Open Carry filed in the Court of Claims that both chambers of the legislature suppressed speech by not allowing testimony from gun rights advocates against the bill package, therefore violating the Open Meetings Act. 

“We were repeatedly denied the opportunity to testify in public hearings before our elected officials – the officials who work for us,” Tom Lambert of Michigan Open Carry said in a news release. “No legislative body is allowed to supersede our natural rights which are affirmed in the U.S. Constitutional and Michigan law itself. Our lawsuit plainly explains the unconstitutional actions which took place, and what we’re asking the court to do to rectify the injustices that were carried out by legislators in the House and Senate.”

Attorney General Nessel also mentioned in her Wednesday statement that she would defend the bills in court. 

“If these recent gun safety laws should be challenged in court, I want the people of Michigan to know it will be my duty and honor to defend them. When these laws are enacted, I will use every tool of my office to ensure Michigan residents are informed of these laws and that they will be vigorously enforced.” 

Last week, Gov. Whitmer signed a different package of gun bills which expanded background checks for firearms purchasing and instilled safe storage laws.  She will likely sign the ERPO laws into law.