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Whitmer launches taskforce to address gun violence in Michigan

Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords watches as Governor Gretchen Whitmer says she will sign gun safety bills once they are sent to her by the Legislature.
Rick Pluta
FILE - Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords watches as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says she will sign gun safety bills once they are sent to her by the Legislature in March 2023.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is establishing a gun violence prevention task force for Michigan to address and reduce instances of gun violence in the state. The announcement comes less than a week after nine people were wounded during a mass shooting at a splash pad in Rochester Hills.

“Michiganders deserve to feel safe everywhere — whether they’re picking up their kids from school or grocery shopping for the week ahead,” said Whitmer in statement after signing the executive order on Thursday.

The Michigan Gun Violence Prevention Taskforce is expected to identify the root causes of gun violence, compile and report relevant data and recommend policy changes, according to the executive order.

“We must evaluate what we have done, what we are doing, and what more we can do to reduce gun violence and save lives,” states the order.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Michigan had just over 1,500 firearm-related deaths in 2022.

The taskforce will serve as an advisory group with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. The group includes various state agency representatives and other stakeholders.

“This includes experts and community leaders who are working together to find effective ways to reduce gun violence,” said Maya Manuel, organizer with End Gun Violence in Michigan Coalition.

Manuel formed Sitdown MSU, a student led organization focused on ending gun violence, following the February 13 mass shooting at Michigan State University.

“I really hope that people view this as an effective solution,” said Manuel. “And potentially, this can bring the work together in one place in Michigan.”

Those interested in joining the gun violence prevention taskforce can apply online through July 18.

As WKAR's Bilingual Latinx Stories Reporter, Michelle reports in both English and Spanish on stories affecting Michigan's Latinx community.
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