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"Red flag," other gun laws take effect in Michigan this week

City of Kirkland

Courts and law enforcement in Michigan are getting ready for Michigan’s new “red flag” gun law, as well as other firearm safety measures that take effect this week.

Others include required background checks for all firearm purchases and a requirement that all Michigan gun owners must securely lock away their firearms – with a cable lock or in a gun safe, if there are children in the home.

The red flag law will allow a judge to approve an "extreme risk protection order" to allow law enforcement to temporarily seize guns from a person deemed a threat to themself or others.

There are questions about how the new law will be enforced.

But State Court Administrator Thomas Boyd told Michigan Public Radio that courts and police won’t be starting from scratch.

“The process is very similar to a personal protection order, which has been available for 30 years, and so we really think this is going to roll out in a very similar way,” he said.

The people who can ask for an order include “a spouse, a former spouse, an individual with whom a person has a child in common, there’s a dating relationship, they share the same household, they’re members of the family,” he said. “It also, very importantly, includes law enforcement and health care providers and people who may be in the best position to see when someone is at a crisis.”

Boyd said Michigan also looked to the experience of 20 other states that have “red flag “ laws to develop its rules.

Jon Gold, the co-president of Giffords Gun Owners for Safety in Michigan, said the measures do not violate the constitution, despite concerns from opponents.

“All we’ve done is … increase safety measures to try to cut down on gun violence in this state,” Gold said. “And nowhere, in any of these laws … in any of the wording, has anything infringed on my Second Amendment right.”

Ryan Bates, the executive director of End Gun Violence Michigan, said other states have passed similar laws in recent years. “The evidence is clear: These laws save lives,” said Bates.

Michigan Public reached out to numerous gun-rights groups for comment on the new laws, but did not receive replies.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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