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Whitmer signs bill to create 'red flag' firearm law

 Governor Gretchen Whitmer sitting at a desk outside, flanked by people
Michigan Executive Office of the Governor
Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the bill into law in front of the Oakland County courthouse.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a bill into law Monday to allow courts to issue “red flag” orders to temporarily seize guns from people deemed a risk to themselves or others.

The governor signed the measure in front of the Royal Oak courthouse in Oakland County, where people are feeling the impact of the Oxford High School shooting in 2021. Whitmer said they are not alone.

“Only in the United States of America, guns are the No. 1 killer of our kids,” she said. “We must take action, and today I’m proud to say here in Michigan, we are. And so with that, I’m ready to sign the bill.”

Survivors, families and friends of the Oxford High School and Michigan State University mass shootings joined advocates, including former congresswoman and shooting survivor Gabby Giffords, for the ceremony.

This is the third gun safety law signed by the Democratic governor in this legislative term following universal background checks for gun purchases and safe storage laws.

We have a mechanism to step in and save lives,” she said. “Extreme risk protection orders also will reduce suicides. People often see warning signs of suicidal ideation in those that they are close to and now they can take action to keep them safe.”

Some Republican prosecutors have said they will not enforce extreme risk protection orders in their counties, claiming they would violate rights to bear arms in the Michigan and U.S. Constitutions.

But Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel said she will find a way to enforce extreme risk protection orders in counties where prosecutors, sheriffs or police departments refuse to do so.

“For those who are in law enforcement who refuse to enforce these important orders, let me say this loudly and clearly: I will make certain that I find someone with jurisdiction who will enforce these orders,” she said.

It’s not clear when the new law will take effect because that hinges on when this legislative session ends. Republican opposition denied the bills super-majority votes on procedural motions that would have allowed the laws to become effective right away.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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