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Lawmakers and faith leaders hold forum on gun legislation

Tawanna Rankin at the forum in Detroit.
Rick Pluta
Michigan Public Radio Network
Tawanna Rankin at the forum in Detroit.

Democratic lawmakers and faith leaders held a forum at a Detroit church Monday as part of an effort to build support for gun bills awaiting action by the Legislature.

Tawanna Rankin’s daughter was killed in a shooting. Rankin said she’s not sure what the answers are, but something needs to be done.

“Gun violence is never going to be obsolete, but if you start putting heavier sentences to people who murder or use guns illegally maybe that will change the view of someone picking up a gun,” she said.

The Oxford and Michigan State University fatal shootings have created a sense of urgency in the Legislature, House Speaker Joe Tate told the group.

“This is going to get done,” said Tate as the small crowd cheered him on. “This is going to get done.”

Tate said bills to require universal background checks for gun purchases, locking up guns when not in use, and extreme risk protection orders are on the Democrats’ short list.

“But we view these as kind of a foundation,” he said. “As a start to ensure that we are reducing gun violence in the state of Michigan."

Tate said that includes addressing suicides, which are the most common gun deaths in the state. House and Senate committee hearings are already underway with no specific timeline to vote on the bills, but that could happen as soon as this week.

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