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Michigan legislators pledge 'change' in wake of MSU shooting

February 14, 2023
Sam Singh, running for election to the Michigan State Senate, speaks out to the crowd at the Democratic GOTV Grand Finale Rally at MSU's Auditorium Field on Nov. 7, 2022.
Sam Singh, running for election to the Michigan State Senate, speaks out to the crowd at the Democratic GOTV Grand Finale Rally at MSU's Auditorium Field on Nov. 7, 2022.

Following a mass shooting on Michigan State University’s campus on the evening of Feb. 13, which killed three students and left five more in critical condition, political leaders across Michigan have responded, many calling for some type of change to take place.

Senate Majority Floor Leader Sam Singh issued a press statement in which he said there would be updates about steps taken to prevent further gun violence, but that he was focused on helping MSU students and Greater Lansing residents.

"We will mourn. We will heal. We will act," Singh, an East Lansing Democrat, said in the statement.

In a press conference, Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks said the Senate would be taking up gun control measures including but not limited to, safe storage laws, red flag laws and tougher background checks. She called the measures "common sense legislation."

Brinks, D-Grand Rapids, has a daughter who attends MSU.

Passing this legislation is a real possibility with Democrats in control of the Senate, House and governor's office.

“Last night, parents across our state and our country made panicked calls to their children, so they could hear their voices and be on the phone with them as they sheltered in place,” House Speaker Joe Tate said in a press release. “Students and staff hid to keep from being shot.” 

Tate, a Detroit Democrat and MSU alumnus, said he has no understanding left for those in a position to effect change who are unwilling to act.

"I personally have family members who have been victims of gun violence, and the impact of that violence reverberates for a lifetime," Tate said. "This is not a new phenomenon, and the people who elected to help lead the state have no patience for inaction." 

The Michigan legislature, located four miles from MSU’s campus, canceled session for Feb. 14.

Rep. Julie Brixie, D-Okemos., said she spent Tuesday speaking to members of the community and trying to obtain counseling resources for local high schools. 

"I've been spending a lot of time on that today, as well as checking on families and friends and faculty and staff and community members," Brixie said.  

Brixie said that while she's still assembling a plan for specific legislative action, she knows that she intends to make gun control a priority in the coming weeks of the legislative session.

"It doesn't have to be like this," Brixie said. "It shouldn't be like this to students at MSU and all the other schools around the state. You guys shouldn't be living in an environment where you have to practice active shooter drills." 

Majority Floor Leader Rep. Abraham Aiyash said Michigan House Democrats are committed to enacting policies that will address this uniquely American problem of gun violence.

“We’ll pray for those impacted. And we’ll finally enact policies to prevent future tragedies,” Aiyash, D-Detroit, said in a Twitter statement. 

Also on Twitter, Rep. Ranjeev Puri, D-Canton shared a press release just before 1 a.m. which started with “F**k your thoughts and prayers.”

“Thoughts and prayers without action and change are meaningless,” Puri continued in the statement. “Our office will continue to work tirelessly to pass common sense gun reform immediately.”

Senate Minority Leader Aric Nesbitt, R-Porter Township, said he wants to desperately help keep students and families across our state safe from these irrational acts of evil.  

“We have to do more than something. We must cast aside talking points, work together toward real solutions, and do more to protect our children,” Nesbitt said. “I echo calls of our attorney general to hold soft-on-crime prosecutors who put dangerous criminals back on the streets accountable…proposing bills that do not address the root causes of this epidemic just to do something, is just as bad as doing nothing.” 

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The offices of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Sens. Nesbitt, Brinks and Rep. Tate were not available for comment by time of publication.

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