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“Extreme risk” red flag bill on its way to Whitmer

Interior of the state Capitol's rotunda.
Lester Graham
Michigan Radio
State Capitol building

The main bill to allow courts to approve extreme risk protection orders is on its way to Governor Gretchen Whitmer. The bill would allow authorities to temporarily seize guns from people deemed a risk to themselves or others.

The legislation gained traction after the Oxford High School and Michigan State University shootings.

But Senator Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak) said the most common reason to seek an order is the risk of suicide.

“It is not something that is used egregiously or so frequently because it’s designed to address a pretty narrow need,” she said. “You know, it is mostly used to address suicides, people who are going through a mental health crisis who have expressed suicidal ideation.”

She said six out of every 10 gun deaths in the U.S. are suicides.

The vote to send the bill to Whitmer was along party lines.

The legislation would also make it a crime to seek an emergency risk order under false pretenses.

The governor signed laws last week to require guns to be locked and stored where they cannot be accessed by children and to require universal background checks for gun purchases.

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