Skubick: Lawmakers look to expand firearm background checks


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Lawmakers looking to reduce the number of gun deaths introduced legislation today to expand background checks to all firearms, not just pistols, which is the current state law.

Despite an enthusiastic endorsement from supporters, this is not a done deal.

The emotions were running high at this news conference to expand background checks on all firearms as these two women shared an embrace in the wake of losing three of their loved ones to gun related shootings.

Members of the legislative anti gun violence caucus want to change one word in state law from “pistols” to “firearms.”

Currently there are criminal background checks before you can purchase a pistol, but all other firearms are not covered including assault weapons and automatic weapons and sales at gun shows, on the internet and the person to person sales are not covered either by state law.

This is just sensible legislation to make sure guns don’t get into the hands of people who should not have them.

State Rep. Robert Wittenberg (D) Anti gun violence chair

The caucus argues there are 1,100 gun related deaths in this country every year and in the 12 states that have this legislation, crime rates have gone down 15%.

Despite the strong support in the audience, there were no republicans at this event and in the past the NRA has had strong influence on what happens in the Michigan Legislature.

But this Democratic lawmaker who lost two relatives is confident that the Republicans will embrace this legislation as they embraced her.

State Rep. Brend Carter (D – Pontiac): “When my son died, the republicans gave me this neckless to me. Okay? The republicans have come over and embraced me. The Democrats too! But the whole house just put their arms around me so this lets me know, i wear this every single day, it lets me know that this is a human issue not a partisan issue.”

Skubick: “And if we don’t do this?”

State Rep. Brend Carter (D – Pontiac): “We will see more death.”

Representative Wittenberg concedes he does not have Republican right now but he warns them: “I don’t want us to at some point a tragedy happens here and we say, “what could we have done?” and we say, “oh, there was some legislation that’s pending that if we could have had this in place we could have stopped a firearm death.”

The proposal could end up in the senate judiciary committee where the Republican chair wants to see the facts that lives will be saved.

Skubick: “So you remain to be convinced?”

State Sen. Peter Lucido (R – Judiciary Chair): “I always remain to be convinced.”

Skubick: “And on this one you’re not there yet?”

State Sen. Peter Lucido (R – Judiciary Chair): “Not yet. I’ve only got a curtain call from you. I’m waiting to see the full show.”

Bottomline, these folks have some work to do.

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