LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in her State of the State address Wednesday night made three proposals aimed at reducing gun violence.
“The time for only thoughts and prayers is over,” the governor said.
First: mandating universal background checks. Second: implementing safe storage laws to make sure kids don’t get their hands on guns.
The proposals are something one lawmaker said is necessary.
“Absolutely necessary in the state of Michigan,” said State Rep. John Fitzgerald, D-Wyoming. “Law-abiding citizens who own firearms need to take the necessary steps, who are already taking the necessary steps, to protect their firearms in their homes.”
Finally, the governor wants red flag laws, keeping guns out of the hands of people deemed dangerous.
West Michigan Democrats told News 8 after the speech that they are strongly behind the efforts.
“These are common sense bills and laws that have not gotten any hearings,” said State Rep. Julie Rogers, D-Kalamazoo. “We are here to make people safe, not take guns away.”
“These are common sense laws that have been effective in red states and blue states,” said State Rep. Rachel Hood, D-Grand Rapids. “This is just straightforward stuff.”
Multiple Democrats also projected confidence about getting the proposals across the finish line.
“I think we’ve got the support we need to make that change here in Michigan,” Fitzgerald said.
Meanwhile, Republicans told News 8 they need to review the bills before coming out with a position.
“I’d have to look at all the proposals because I don’t want to make a comment when I haven’t read everything,” said State Rep. Kathy Schmaltz, R-Jackson.
“I think we’ll have to wait and see what it looks like,” said Sen. Mark Huizenga, R-Walker. “We don’t actually know.”
After those statements, they made it clear they will defend Second Amendment rights.
“It’s a fundamental right,” said State Rep. Bryan Posthumus, R-Cannon Township. “I have a right to protect myself, every member of my constituency has a right to defend themselves. We have a right to hunt as well.”
“There’s no faster way to stop a bad guy with a gun than a good guy with a gun,” Posthumus added.
“I think we can look at things, but I am a proponent everybody should have the right to protect themselves and own a gun,” Schmaltz said. “We can’t lose that.”
News 8 asked new Senate Minority Leader Sen. Aric Nesbitt, R-Porter Township, for his position. He said he wants more freedom and less government, but there’s bipartisan work that can be done.
“I think it’s important to look that she talks about freedom and openness, yet she goes ahead and doesn’t trust free people,” Nesbitt said. “I think there’s a lot of issues that are out there that we can come together on and actually invest and expanding mental health.”
Huizenga said he’s open to listen to ideas if they’ve been demonstrated to make a difference.
“I always want to make sure we respect and honor responsible gun owners,” Huizenga said. “And take an evidence and data driven approach. If we can do things to make things safer that actually has data to support that, I’ll do that.”