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Oxford school shooting renews debate in Lansing over gun control

State Capitol Building, Lansing, MI
State Capitol Building, Lansing, MI

At the state Capitol Wednesday, the House and the Senate began their sessions with a moment of silence for the Oxford school shooting victims, but no consensus on what more the state can do to make future tragedies less likely.

There are almost 50 gun bills stalled in the Legislature right now. Those include requiring background checks, safe storage, and allowing family members to ask authorities to confiscate firearms if someone poses a risk. Some lawmakers have also called for making it harder for local governments to enact stricter gun ordinances.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, a Republican, said he’s not interested in more gun control measures.

“You know, we enjoy the nation that we live in, and we could, I suppose, spend a lot of time focusing on eliminating every risk that we have because there’s a lot of them. There’s a lot of risks,” he said. “If we get obsessed with eliminating all risks, we will then develop and evolve into a country we won’t recognize.”

The 15-year-old suspect, a sophomore, has been charged with murder, terrorism, and other charges. Four students have died, and seven others were injured in the shooting.

Democratic Senator Rosemary Bayer represents the area where the school shootings occurred. And she said there’s plenty the state could do.

“You know, just having background checks, having mental health checks, having safe storage so if a parent buys a gun, so it’s safely stored so a kid can’t get at it, having extreme risk protection orders,” she said.

The Oxford school shooting suspect allegedly used a gun purchased recently by his father.

Bayer said she would like to see fewer people owning firearms.

“I don’t there’s one single answer for this except get rid of more guns,” she said. “We’ve got too many guns.”

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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