LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan chapters of Moms Demand Action and Student Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, released the following statements applauding the Michigan Senate for passing a critical gun violence prevention bill aimed at disarming domestic abusers. Senate Bills 471/472 and House Bills 4945/4946 would prohibit people convicted of domestic violence misdemeanor offenses in Michigan from owning or possessing firearms. The House version of the bills previously passed out of the House Criminal Justice committee on October 3rd, and await a House floor vote. Access to a gun makes it five times more likely that a woman will die at the hands of her abuser and 65 percent of women in Michigan killed by intimate partner homicide are killed with a gun.
“When domestic abusers have access to guns, the effects can be and often are deadly – sadly our family knows this all too well. Our daughter Maggie’s life was stolen by an intimate partner with access to a gun,” said Rick and Martha Omilian, volunteers with the Michigan chapter of Moms Demand Action whose daughter Maggie Wardle, was shot and killed in 1999 at age 19 by an ex-boyfriend. “We are thankful Michigan Senate lawmakers have listened to our years of advocacy and taken action to protect vulnerable partners and families. This bill will help save lives and we ask the Michigan House to follow suit in passing this bill.”
Gun-related intimate partner violence is a devastating and lethal crisis facing women and families in the United States. Every month, an average of 70 women are shot and killed by an intimate partner. In Michigan, 65% of women killed by an intimate partner were killed by a gun. Just two weeks ago a man was arrested for shooting at his wife in Newaygo County in what was not his first domestic violence offense. Additionally, intimate partner mass shootings are not uncommon, though many don’t make headlines.
Under federal law, people convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence offenses are prohibited from purchasing and possessing firearms. However, because Michigan does not have a state-level law, Michigan state and local law enforcement cannot enforce this prohibition. This means survivors and victims of domestic violence are left more vulnerable to abusers who continue to possess firearms.
In the first months of the 2023 Michigan legislative session lawmakers took widespread action on gun safety, passing three critical gun safety bills. This included passing an Extreme Risk law, which gives loved ones and law enforcement the ability to petition courts to temporarily remove access to firearms from individuals who are at risk of harming themselves and others. It is an essential tool to keeping our loved ones and communities safe but Michigan’s laws need to be strengthened to further protect victims and survivors of domestic violence by prohibiting people convicted of domestic violence offenses from possessing firearms. Lawmakers should build on this progress and pass domestic violence legislation to save the lives of the most vulnerable Michiganders.
In an average year, 1,382 people die and 2,437 are wounded by guns in Michigan. Guns are the leading cause of death among children and teens in Michigan, and an average of 103 children and teens die by guns every year, of which 31% of these deaths are suicides and 64% are homicides. Gun violence in Michigan costs $1,683 per person each year. Gun deaths and injuries cost Michigan $16.8 billion each year, of which $380.5 million is paid by taxpayers.
More information about gun violence in Michigan is available here.