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House and Senate Democrats to introduce universal background check bills

Bo Harvey

Some Democratic state lawmakers want universal background checks for all people looking to own a firearm. They plan to introduce bills in the House and Senate.

Bill sponsor, Representative Brenda Carter (D-Pontiac), said at a press conference that lawmakers must take the issue of gun violence seriously.

“What happens to our young people, what happens to our seniors, what happens in our nation, is affected by our inability to move legislation like what we have here today forward,” she said.

The bills waiting to be introduced in the state House and Senate would require universal background checks for anyone trying to buy a firearm. It would include all firearm sales by any seller.

Right now, the law only requires checks for people buying pistols from any seller.

Bill sponsor, Senator Rosemary Bayer (D-Beverly Hills), said she’s gotten push back on the legislation from people worried their guns would be taken away. Bayer said in an interview that that’s not what this would do.

“This is a common sense check to make sure that you’re the person, that you’re okay, that you are who you say you are, you’re not a criminal and you’re not going to be at risk to yourself,” she said. “So, it’s permission, more than anything else.”

Opponents of the checks also call them unnecessary and ineffective. Other bills in the state Legislature aimed at curbing gun violence have yet to even get a committee hearing.

Those include “Red Flag Bills.” Those would allow law enforcement or a family member to seek a court order to take away someone’s firearms for certain period of time if that person is a risk to himself or others.

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Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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