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Michigan Moms Demand Action volunteers pose for a photo holding signs
Volunteer Stories

How We Moved Mountains in Michigan

School shootings are a uniquely American experience. They don’t have to be.

In November 2021, news reports started circulating that there had been a shooting at Oxford High School in Oxford, Michigan. We dreaded the news of casualties, but learned that eleven people were shot and 4 students were shot and killed by a 15-year-old who should not have had access to a gun.

Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action, and survivors mobilized to demand the Michigan legislature take action. But in 2021, we didn’t have a majority of lawmakers in office willing to stand up for gun safety. Gun safety measures stalled in the state legislature. Instead of action to prevent future tragedies, students in that district were required to use clear backpacks or not carry backpacks at all.

The odds were stacked against us, but Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action, and survivors of gun violence know how to navigate that all too well. We continued to show up.

Michigan Students Demand Action volunteers pose for a photo holding signs

Electing and Training Gun Sense Candidates

We continued to support the leadership of gun safety activists, invested in students, met with our lawmakers, and through Demand A Seat, a program of the Everytown for Gun Safety Victory Fund, trained volunteers to run for office so they can make laws instead of urging lawmakers to finally act.

Not only did we support multiple candidates up and down the ballot last year, including Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Attorney General Dana Nessel, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, but we helped elect nine Michigan Moms Demand Action volunteers to public office, including: House Majority Whip Rep. Ranjeev Puri, Rep. Kelly Breen, Rep. Brenda Carter, Rep. Lori Stone, Senator Mallory McMorrow, and Senator Paul Wojno.

In 2022, Moms Demand Action volunteers were elected to the Michigan legislature and to judicial and school board seats, helping to ensure that gun violence prevention will be a priority across every level of government in Michigan. The political power of our movement is clear. The Gun Sense Majorities that we helped elect in the state House and Senate, along with Gun Sense Champion, Governor Gretchen Witmer have opened the door to passing lifesaving laws that protect communities from gun violence.

Background on Michigan

Michigan has lacked some of the most foundational gun violence prevention laws, including measures to keep guns out of the wrong hands like background checks on all firearm sales and secure storage requirements. Background checks on all firearms sales are the foundation of any comprehensive gun violence prevention strategy, keeping guns out of the hands of people with dangerous histories. Secure firearm storage requirements play a vital role in reducing the risk of gun violence at home and school by helping to prevent access by juveniles or prohibited individuals, and are a proven way to prevent tragedies and help keep our families safe.

By the numbers

Demanding Action after the Michigan State University Shooting

This Gun Sense trifecta (having Gun Sense Majorities in the state House and Senate, along with a Gun Sense Governor) made all the difference when another tragedy struck just one month into this year’s legislative session at Michigan State University: Three students were shot and killed, and five others were shot and wounded by a shooter who had previously exhibited dangerous warning signs.

Our Students Demand Action and Moms Demand Action leaders once again leapt into action, demanding that Michigan lawmakers finally stand up for public safety by passing evidence-backed, lifesaving gun violence prevention laws. Our volunteers showed up and testified at every legislative hearing. They participated in student demonstrations, rallied with Governor Whitmer at the Michigan State Capitol, and met with lawmakers both to honor victims and survivors of gun violence and to urge Michigan lawmakers to finally take overdue action to save lives.

We launched ads and took over the homepage of MLive, demanding Michigan lawmakers finish the job and pass critical, life-saving gun safety legislation.

Signing Gun Safety Bills into Law

And on April 13th, during our Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action Michigan Advocacy Day, Governor Whitmer signed this package of gun safety bills into law. These bills include background checks on all gun sales and secure firearm storage. They will save lives.

There are countless shootings that never make headlines. Shootings that don’t always get the massive outpouring of support and resources that survivors and victims’ families need. We commit to honoring them with action, with continuing to work to make sure no more lives are lost to senseless gun violence. We will show lawmakers that voters will no longer tolerate inaction. If lawmakers won’t lead on gun safety, then Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action, and survivors of gun violence will elect someone who will or run for that seat themselves.

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