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Educators, gun safety advocates call for legislation to reduce gun violence

The Michigan capitol building against a blue and cloudy sky.
Emma Winowiecki
Michigan Radio
The Michigan Capitol building in Lansing.

Following the mass shooting on the campus of Michigan State University last week, a group of educators and advocates is demanding state lawmakers pass laws to combat gun violence.

Students and activists with the group March for Our Lives stood behind speakers at a Monday press conference in support of gun safety legislation.

The conference was intentionally placed between the Capitol building and Board of Education office.

Multiple educators say the Legislature needs to pass reforms that would make schools safer, including new gun storage requirements and universal background checks for those purchasing firearms.

Pamela Pugh is the president of the State Board of Education. She thanked Democratic officials for supporting gun safety laws but called on Republicans to back the measures.

“We are not asking. We are demanding that policy be made to protect our children,” she said.

David Hogg, a survivor of the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Florida, called on Republicans to break gridlock by collaborating with Democrats on gun safety legislation.

“What we’re doing right now as a country is not working. The cycle that we’re in of endless debate, inaction, is not working,” said Hogg.

Democrats have introduced bills in the state Senate that would implement universal background checks, safe storage requirements and red flag laws.

Republicans have supported bipartisan proposals to expand mental health resources in schools.

MSU student advocates also organized a sit-down protest outside the Capitol Monday to push for the legislation.

Hundreds of students attended, calling for similar measures as the press conference speakers.

Gabrielle Bane, a sophomore studying business, said last Monday, she said she spent several hours barricading herself inside a locked room in a building on campus.

This Monday, she had a message for legislators: "I ask for you to fight with us and for us, to bring justice to victims everywhere and help end gun violence through passing sensible gun laws and restricting who can gain access to firearms."

Arjun Thakkar is joining WKAR as a new politics and civics reporter after stints at the Detroit Free Press and Bridge Michigan. He’s also a recent graduate of the University of Michigan.
As WKAR's Bilingual Latinx Stories Reporter, Michelle reports in both English and Spanish on stories affecting Michigan's Latinx community. Michelle is also the voice of WKAR's weekend news programs.
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