On Monday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation prohibiting individuals convicted of a misdemeanor related to domestic violence from possessing firearms for at least an eight-year-period. Although state law currently includes firearm restrictions for those with felonies related to domestic abuse, no law had existed for misdemeanor domestic violence.
“These bills are based on a simple idea: if you have been found guilty in court for violently assaulting your partner, you should not be able to access a deadly weapon that you could use to further threatened, harm or kill them.” Whitmer said at a bill signing in Kalamazoo. “It’s just common sense.”
One of several firearm restrictions added to Michigan law since the Democrats took control of both chambers of the state Legislature and retained the governor’s office last election, the eight-year ban for misdemeanor domestic violence convictions is only the latest.
Previously this year, legislation implementing red flag laws, stricter background checks and safe storage requirements were all signed by Whitmer. The overhauled of existing gun laws came on the heels of two deadly mass school shootings that happened in Michigan within a 14-month period.
Democratic State Sen. Stephanie Chang, a lead sponsor of the bill package, stated on Monday that the latest legislation would put Michigan on par with comparable laws in 31 other states and the District of Columbia.
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court undertook a challenge to a federal law that prohibits people from having guns if they are under a court order to stay away from their spouse, partner or other family members. The nation’s high court heard arguments on Nov. 7 and seemed likely to preserve the federal law.
“As the Supreme Court weighs whether to uphold common-sense laws to disarm domestic abusers, Governor Whitmer and the Michigan legislature are taking a clear stand: If you have a history of intimate partner violence, you have no business owning a gun,” John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, said in a statement.
Statistically, firearms are the most common weapon used in homicides of spouses, intimate partners, children and/or relatives in recent years, according to data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Data shows that guns were used in more than half (57%) of those killings in 2020, a year that saw an overall increase in domestic violence during the coronavirus pandemic.
Under the newest legislation signed Monday in Michigan, people convicted of a misdemeanor that involved domestic violence will be no longer be allowed to purchase, possess, or use a firearm or ammunition until they have completed the terms of imprisonment, paid all fines and have had eight years pass.
— with files from cbsnews.com