Feb 23, 2023 - Politics

Michigan swing voters want stricter gun laws

Illustration of a gun with a gavel for a trigger.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Michigan swing voters taking part in a recent focus group were in unanimous agreement that state lawmakers should implement proposals to enact stricter gun laws.

Driving the news: Participants gave unanimous support to the adoption of three proposals for safe storage laws (SB 79-82), universal background checks (SB 76-78) and so-called red flag laws (SB 83-86) — all of which have been reintroduced and are expected to be considered by legislators in the coming weeks.

Of note: The focus group took place one day after the mass shooting at Michigan State that left three people dead and five others seriously injured.

What happened: Engagious/Schlesinger conducted two online focus groups on Feb. 14 with 13 Michiganders who voted for former President Trump in 2016, then President Biden in 2020.

  • Participants included seven registered Democrats, two Republicans and four independents.
  • While a focus group is not a statistically significant sample like a poll, responses show how some voters are thinking.

What they're saying: "I feel like they keep talking about (gun reform) but they haven't done anything," said participant Allie B. of Grand Rapids. "I do think there's things to be done, do I know exactly what that would be? No."

  • "I don't think enough people here are going to give up their guns no matter what the cost is for still having them," said Michelle S. of Warren.

The other side: Great Lakes Gun Rights executive director Brenden Boudreau tells Axios that should the Democratic proposals be signed into law, Michigan will rank as one of the worst states for gun rights.

  • "We already have universal background checks for pistols and that did nothing to stop what happened at Michigan State," Boudreau says. "It just seems like to us just a political power grab."

What's next: The Michigan Senate Judiciary Committee was scheduled to hold a hearing on the measures today in Lansing, but it was postponed because of the weather.

  • Hearings on the bills are years in the making — former Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey promised to give the measures a committee hearing until receiving pressure from gun rights groups.

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