LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Domestic violence survivors, advocates and state leaders were in Kalamazoo alongside Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Monday as she signed into law three bills to prevent those convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors from purchasing and possessing guns.

“These new laws will save lives,” said Kazia Kelly, a domestic violence survivor and advocate. “Just as importantly, they will give domestic violence survivors hope. This is a statement that society cares about our safety, and more women and children will have the opportunity to leave abuse.”

Whitmer signed the bills into law at the YWCA of Kalamazoo, which provides services for survivors of domestic violence. Rick and Martha Omilian, whose daughter Maggie Wardle was shot and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1999 at Kalamazoo College, were present for the signing.

Thirty-three other states and the federal government currently have laws in place to prevent all people convicted of domestic violence charges from purchasing or possessing firearms. Under the new policy, the prohibition will remain in place for eight years after the offender’s sentence is complete.

  • Rick and Martha Omilian, whose daughter was killed by an ex-boyfriend in 1999, were present for the signing of three DV gun bills into law.
  • Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed into law three bills preventing domestic abusers from owning or buying guns for eight years after serving their sentences, Monday, Nov. 20 in Kalamazoo. (Photo/End Gun Violence Michigan)
  • State Sen. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit) spoke at the signing of three bills preventing domestic abusers from owning or buying guns, Monday, Nov. 20, in Kalamazoo. (Photo/End Gun Violence Michigan)

Throughout 2023, advocacy groups including End Gun Violence Michigan, Everytown for Gun Safety, Moms Demand Action and the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence organized events and meetings in favor of the bills.

Gun rights advocacy groups have opposed the new laws, saying they are just the latest attack on their gun rights. Firearms advocates organized a Second Amendment rights rally in October.

Opponents at Great Lakes Gun Rights earlier this month took to X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, to blast the bill’s passage by the Michigan House and Senate.

“Eight-year gun ban for people convicted of non-violent misdemeanor offenses, under the guise of fighting ‘domestic violence,’” the organization posted.