GOP blamed for Michigan State, but they shouldn't be

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Michigan State happened. There’s no debate about that, at least not any serious debate. I’m sure you can find some who will say it didn’t, but whatever.


Where there is debate, however, is why it happened. Why did it happen and what could have been done to prevent it?

Unsurprisingly, though, Democrats–the same people who have jumped on the bodies of the slain to use as a soapbox–are also quick to blame Republicans for failing to pass gun control.

Less than a year before a gunman attacked Michigan State University’s campus on Monday, killing three students and injuring five, Republican legislators in the state rejected an opportunity to change gun regulations.

In the aftermath of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, Michigan Democrats attempted to advance bills requiring secure storage of firearms and expanding background checks for gun buyers. Six months earlier, a shooting at Oxford high school near Detroit had also reinvigorated Democratic efforts to change Michigan gun laws. But the gun bills were blocked by Republicans, who controlled both chambers of the state legislature.

Oh, so it’s the GOP’s fault?

Well, even The Guardian can’t go that far.

It remains unclear whether the bills previously considered by the legislature might have prevented the mass shooting at Michigan State. Authorities identified the shooter as 43-year-old [killer’s name redacted], but they declined to offer details on the weapon used in the attack or a potential motive.


This is, of course, fascinating since the entire premise of the article is that Republicans blocked gun control.

Yet based on what we know about the shooter and his gun, there’s really no reason to believe that any gun control measure that was proposed would have done a thing. He could have been a felon due to a weapons charge, which might have disarmed him, but prosecutors allowed him to plead out.

Further, he apparently bought a gun after the weapons charge.

He spent a year and a half on probation, during which time he was not permitted to own a firearm.

Michael McRae said his son, who had been living with him in Lansing, bought a gun after the weapons charge, but would not admit it to his father.

“He never let me in the room to show me the gun,” the dad said to the Washington Post. “If he showed it to me, I would have put it in the garbage.”

What’s unclear is exactly when the killer bought the second firearm, but it doesn’t sound like it was immediately after the weapons charge or necessarily even during his time on probation.


Beyond that, though, what we see is someone who was going to obtain a firearm no matter what. Even if those past bills had become law, there’s no real reason to believe this shooting would have been prevented. This was someone who was bound and determined to have a firearm and didn’t really care about what anyone else said on the subject.

The truth of the matter is that this national sport of blaming Republicans in the wake of a mass shooting isn’t really accomplishing anything except making pro-gun voices even more inclined to oppose gun control efforts.

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