Michigan lawmakers debate gun violence as a Florida mass shooting claims the lives of 17
LANSING, Mich. —
Questions are emerging on what lawmakers can do to prevent another mass shooting a day after a high school shooting that left 17 dead in Florida.
There is legislation in Michigan, but it's not getting any movement.
Democrats are angry. They say Michigan needs stronger background checks and the ability to treat gun violence as a public health emergency.
Emily Durbin is a mother demanding action from lawmakers as mass shootings become the norm in the United States.
"We still don't have background checks on all gun sales. Domestic abusers are still able to own firearms," Durbin said.
Republicans in Lansing said mental health is the answer.
"We need to continue to focus on the mental health aspect of this," Rep. Triston Cole said.
"When you have a free society, you are going to have more crime," Rep. Jim Runestad said.
Pete Lucido and other Republican lawmakers say the state isn't investing enough in mental health
"This is a proven factor that people with mental illness are getting guns either legally or illegally," said Lucido.
Durbin says easy access to firearms is the problem.
"If mental health was the cause of gun violence, we would see other countries have equally high levels of gun violence," she said.
To prevent another school shooting, one idea circulating the capitol is arming teachers in the classroom.
"If a teacher has a weapon, maybe that teacher could have taken down that student," said Lucido.
Democrat Jon Hoadley says that's not the right solution.
"The reality is when folks are faced with these kinds of tactical situations only law enforcement regularly trains," said Hoadley.
Durbin, who is an educator, says teachers and school districts don't want loaded handguns in schools.
"They don't want to be sharp shooters in the classrooms,” Durbin said.
Hoadley is also pushing the idea of extreme risk protection orders, which would empower police to take guns away from people who may pose a danger to themselves or others.