LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The signing of the most significant gun legislation in decades on Saturday was being carefully watched by gun control and gun rights groups in Michigan. Activists on both sides said they see a turning point in the national debate.
“We’ve been trying to get stuff done. It’s been 26 years almost since meaningful gun legislation was passed. So, this is huge and we are grateful that our country and our elected officials are going to put the safety of our communities first,” said Reverend Christin Fawcett with Moms Demand Action of Greater Lansing.
She said the signing of the “Bipartisan Safer Communities Act” is a step forward with measures to extend background checks for buys under 21 and incentivizing states to enact so-called “red flag” laws. She said it marks a new chapter for national gun control.
“When the Uvalde shooting happened, a lot of the activists were saying it feels different this time. It feels like we are all finally saying enough. So, I do think this is great forward momentum,” said Fawcett.
On the other side of the aisle, Tom Lambert, President of Michigan Open Carry said the law’s portion that directly deals with gun policy does little and has the chance of legal battles ahead, especially with the “red flag” law incentives.
“I don’t want to say every case because sometimes there is a reasonable justification but for someone to loose a fundamental, individual constitutional right without committing a crime, that’s pretty significant,” he said.
The act does come with funding to increase school security and mental health care which makes Lambert cautiously optimistic. He did agree that there are signs of a changing tide in gun control, not from Capitol Hill, but from the Supreme Court.
Earlier this week, the court struck down a New York law that limited carrying guns outside the home. Lambert said he expects the ruling to be used to challenge gun laws around the country.
“A lot of these laws will pass constitutional muster but not all of them will. Which ones? We’ll see”, he said.