It begins: After being elected for a second term, Governor Whitmer pushes sweeping gun-control legislation

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LANSING, MI – With elections over and a newly-elected Democratic-majority legislature, progressive Governor Gretchen Whitmer is now seeking to enact new gun-control legislation that failed to move along under the previously Republican-led House and Senate.

The incumbent governor won re-election to a second term after defeating her Republican challenger, Tudor Dixon by a vote margin of 10.6 percent. Regarding the sweeping gun-control legislation, Whitmer said:

“It’s new territory for a lot of people. I’m excited about what I think we’re going to get done.”

All 110 seats in the state of Michigan were up for election in 2022 and prior to the mid-term elections, the state had a divided government with Democrats controlling the governorship and Republicans controlling both chambers of the state legislature.

To help push her gun-control agenda, Whitemer highlighted the school shooting at Oxford High School, which took place on November 30, 2021. Four students were murdered by 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley and another seven were injured, including a teacher.

Crumbley later pleaded guilty to all the charges in October 2022. Whitmer said in a statement:

“I do believe that you will all if a sudden see a very different environment in Lansing where the Oxford families and advocates will have the ability to make their voices heard and to inform and drive the policy change that his current legislature has completely shut the door to.”

The GOP-dominated legislature previously blocked Democratic gun-control bills such as Senate Bill No. 856, a “red flag law” that would allow a judge to authorize police to seize guns deemed a risk to themselves or others.

Another bill that was blocked would have required gun owners with children to store their firearms in a secure lockbox.

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Whitmer also wants to close a loophole that allows people to buy long guns from a private seller without submitting to a background check required for purchases from a dealer. She said:

“I think that these are each individually proven policy solutions that could mitigate the likelihood of a future shooting and so I think that’s where we need to start.”

Incoming state Senate Minority Leader Aric Nesbitt criticized such gun control measures being proposed by the Democrats. He stated publicly that he would fight against any initiative which sought to limit individual freedom. He added:

“I believe in the individual over the state, and it’s unfortunate that Democrats are trying to look for ways to limit individual’s liberty and freedom.”

This is not the first time the Democratic governor sought to enact sweeping gun-control measures.

In January 2021, Whitmer called for a ban on all weapons inside the Michigan State Capitol. The governor also called for a ban on bump stocks and joined 11 other governors in calling for stricter gun control legislation.

In order to pass her proposed gun-control initiatives in Michigan, Whitmer will need every single Democrat in the legislature to vote yes.

In addition to gun-control legislation, Whitmer is pushing to repeal the state’s “Right-to-Work” law, which prohibits contracts that require workers to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment.

Democrats who will not control the House and Senate have already signaled their intent to repeal the law that was signed in 2012 by then-Governor Rick Snyder. In the years since, union membership and collective bargaining power has waned in Michigan.

Whitmer, who was the Senate minority leader when Snyder signed the law, was a leading opponent of the policy and joined mass union protests outside the Michigan Capitol as Republicans prepared for votes inside. She said in a statement:

“No one should be surprised about what my position has been to Right-to-Work.”

She added that Democrats must have a “robust conversation” about the law, timing of potential repeal and how to make sure the public “understands what and why we’re pursuing this.”

Nesbitt said that Democratic calls to repeal Michigan’s Right-to-Work “shows that they are unserious about their campaigns of economic development and creating jobs.” He added:

“You talk to any economic development, group or organization … and you’re on some lists when you’re a Right-to-Work state, and you’re off lists when you’re not a Right-to-Work state.”

He said:

“If the governor is serious about developing the economy, growing jobs here in Michigan providing opportunities for the next generation, they wouldn’t go there.”

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