Red-flag bills introduced in Lansing aim to keep guns away from people posing danger

By Mikenzie Frost, Sinclair Broadcast Group

Democratic lawmakers in the state House and Senate came together Thursday to introduce legislation that would create an option for extreme risk protection orders for people.

A Harvard study shows about 85 percent of suicide attempts with a firearm end in death, while drug overdoses, which are the most common method of suicide attempts, are fatal in less than 3 percent of cases.


Sen. Rosemary Bayer, D-Beverly Hills, said a childhood friend committed suicide by using a firearm and believes the legislation is the first step in protecting others.

“I grew up in a hunting family. When I was a teenager, I suddenly grew up a lot faster when my friend committed suicide with a gun,” she tearfully recalled. “I will never forget the devastation to my family, to his family, to the community. Saving lives is the purpose of this legislation.”

Eleven other states currently have laws similar to Michigan’s plan. Connecticut and Indiana have laws that allow law enforcement to petition courts to temporarily removed an individual’s access to firearms. Wittenberg said an analysis of Connecticut’s law estimates that for every 10 to 20 risk warrants served by law enforcement, one suicide was prevented.

“People across our state deserve a legal process to protect their family members from harming themselves or others,” Bayer said.


Infringements on Second Amendment rights arise with legislation such as the proposed package. Bayer said she understands the concerns and said when people who shouldn’t have guns get them confiscated, it’s better for everyone. “This actually helps protect the Second Amendment because you’re not under attack all the time,” Bayer said.

The bills have been referred to their respective committees. Wittenberg, who serves as chairman of the Gun Violence Prevention Caucus, said he’s committed to getting the legislation through this year. “Make no mistake, this legislation can and will have a direct impact on the safety of our children and our families,” he said.

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