Michigan Bill Would Expand Universal Background Checks In The State

One of the most popular anti-gun measures being considered is universal background checks. Proponents argue that criminals and other prohibited individuals are able to bypass the NICS check conducted at gun stores by simply purchasing a gun from an individual instead. There are no hard and fast numbers on these kinds of transactions for obvious reasons, but anti-gun advocates argue they happen far too often.


Pro-gun voices such as myself argue that these transactions represent a very small percentage of gun sales overall and that even the Department of Justice found that face-to-face transfers aren’t the preferred method for criminals to get guns.

Regardless, though, universal background check measures are popping up all over the nation. While a federal bill along those lines is stalled in the Senate, thankfully, state-level gun grabbers are pushing forward. The latest effort? Michigan.

On Thursday, six Democrats from both chambers introduced legislation to expand universal background checks for guns in Michigan.

State Sens. Rosemary Bayer (D–Beverly Hills), Stephanie Chang (D–Detroit) and Jeremy Moss (D–Southfield), along with state Reps. Robert Wittenberg (D–Huntington Woods), Brenda Carter (D–Pontiac) and Jon Hoadley (D–Kalamazoo), introduced Senate Bills 678-680 and House Bills 5275-5277.

The six-bill package would expand Michigan’s laws to better regulate firearm sales, and bring state sentencing guidelines up to par with the new standards.

“These are common-sense bills that most Americans support to prevent the next tragedy from occurring. Our colleagues must join us to pass these reforms to keep everyone in each of our districts safe,” Moss said in an emailed statement.

SB 679, introduced by Moss and HB 5276, introduced by Carter, would update the Michigan penal code by replacing the word “pistol” with “firearm” to ensure a broader scope. Currently, language in Michigan’s penal code only requires background checks to be conducted for pistol sales.

SB 678, introduced by Bayer and HB 5275, introduced by Wittenberg, would require a license or criminal background check for the purchase of all firearms, not just pistols.

“Michigan residents understand the critical role background checks play in keeping our communities safe, which is why it is so important that we extend this provision to include all firearms,” Wittenberg said.


What chance do these bills actually have?

Well, not much. Michigan’s legislature is solidly red in both chambers and while there has been some GOP interest in debating red flag laws, universal background checks are a different animal entirely. There’s practically no Republican support anywhere to speak of, meaning these bills would have a tough uphill climb just to get out of committee.

Of course, you folks in Michigan shouldn’t get complacent about things. Make it a point to contact your legislators and make sure they know you oppose these bills.

Frankly, the state needs to go the other direction and end universal background checks for pistols as well. There’s absolutely nothing that is being served by that law being in place, nothing at all. It’s a pain for all parties involved and yet the criminals–the very people this bill is supposed to inhibit from getting guns–are out there buying them on the streets of Detroit from black market sellers. I’m pretty sure they’re skipping the background check in those cases.

Why would long guns be any different, especially when the vast majority of crimes are committed with handguns?

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