Michigan bill would allow judges to take away guns from mentally ill people
LANSING, Mich. —
Parkland High School students say they are going to be the last mass shooting in the United States.
Two major protests are already schedule for March and gun reform advocates in Michigan are taking notice. The pressure is building on Republicans to change gun laws in Michigan.
Democrats are now trying to get a hearing on a bill that they say could prevent the next mass shooting.
"The time to act is now. Before there's another seventeen dead," Virg Bernero said. "What is the need for an AR-15? It's a killing machine. It's not a hunting weapon."
The former Lansing mayor is backing a bill that would allow a family member or authorities to convince a judge to take away the firearm of a person who is believed to be a threat to themselves or others.
"Right now, our PPO process is very weak. We've seen so many domestic violence cases where a PPO was filed and then nothing really happens until the tragedy strikes," Bernero said.
The author of the bill says an extreme risk protection order would have prevented what happened in Florida.
"The mother of the kid who shot up the school, she was worried about him. She called the police and she said she wanted them to talk some sense into him. But there was nothing they could do. He still had his weapon," Robert Wittenburg said.
The bill would allow Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO) in Michigan.
The order would be temporary and a person could petition the judge to get back their gun.
"If that is the case, if someone did it, like a frivolous lawsuit, then they can get in trouble. There are penalties for people who make false claims. So, we don't take this lightly," Wittenburg said.
The bill is waiting to be heard in committee.
House Judiciary Chairman Jim Runestad is still reading the bill and hasn't committed to supporting or opposing the Wittenburg legislation.
At the same time, Runestad is signaling support for investing in mental health
"So often it turns out to be an individual who has mental illness," he said.