Read the 2022 CAP report on gun violence in Michigan, produced in partnership with Progress Michigan, for more information about the initial steps the state has taken toward gun safety.
Introduction and summary
On February 13, 2023, an armed gunman killed three students and injured five others at Michigan State University.1 The devastating attack marked the 67th mass shooting of the year, underscoring the urgent need for gun safety improvements in the state. The shooting also highlighted a recent, troubling phenomenon among young people in Michigan and throughout the United States: students who have survived multiple school shootings. Notably, Sandy Hook survivor Jackie Matthews and several alumni of Michigan’s Oxford High School, where a gunman killed four people in November 2021, were on campus at the time of the Michigan State University shooting, marking the second time these students survived a deadly mass shooting at a school.2
Yet the devastating effect of gun violence in Michigan reaches far beyond the high-profile mass shootings covered in news and media. Gun violence presents an ongoing and significant challenge in Michigan, where an estimated 40.2 percent of households own firearms3 and more than nine people are injured and another four are killed by guns every day.4 Until recently, Republicans in the state legislature have mostly blocked Michigan’s efforts to pass gun safety legislation.5 As a result, gun violence in the state has remained largely unchecked, cutting short the lives of roughly 1,382 residents6 and injuring another 2,437 every year.7 Moreover, the most recently available Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data indicate this problem is only growing: The number of Michigan gun deaths reached a record high of 1,544 in 2021,8 a 25 percent increase from 2016.9
Michigan’s gun violence epidemic is more than just a data point. Each bullet fired permanently alters the lives of families and communities.
But Michigan’s gun violence epidemic is more than just a data point. Each bullet fired permanently alters the lives of families and communities. As gun violence and mass shootings become both more common and more deadly, demands for meaningful gun reform have increased among students,10 faith leaders,11 medical professionals,12 and communities at large. In fact, new polling data indicate most Michigan voters want stronger gun laws: A staggering 89 percent of Michiganders support expanded background checks, while 88 percent support safe storage requirements and 82 percent support domestic violence prohibitors.13
In 2022, the Center for American Progress and Progress Michigan partnered on a report that explored the impact of gun violence in Michigan, including its disproportionate effect on Black people and the increase in gun suicides, particularly among young people and veterans. In the weeks following the February 2023 shooting at Michigan State University, state lawmakers—with the help and support of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI)—passed several commonsense gun safety bills that a majority of voters had demanded for years.
This new analysis builds on the 2022 report to provide a road map for additional policies that have broad public support and that legislators should pursue in order to address this growing crisis and prevent further tragedies.
Read the 2022 report
Given recent spikes in firearm ownership in the state,14 as well as alarming trends in gun crime, firearm suicide, and unintentional injuries,15 it is crucial that Michigan lawmakers expand efforts to reduce gun violence. Fortunately, Michigan has taken important steps toward this goal by passing laws that prevent guns from reaching individuals who pose a risk to themselves or others. Currently, Michigan requires private gun owners to report missing or stolen firearms to the police16 and mandates that individuals have a permit to purchase a handgun from a private seller.17 More recently, the state legislature, with the support of Gov. Whitmer, passed safe storage requirements that require gun owners to keep weapons locked and unloaded in homes or buildings with minors; it also expanded background checks to include all firearm sales.18 This legislation, signed into law by Gov. Whitmer on April 13, requires gun owners to register all firearm purchases, including rifles and shotguns sold by private dealers or at gun shows.19
The Michigan Legislature also recently passed extreme risk protection order (ERPO) legislation that, if made law, would allow law enforcement and family members to petition a court for an order to temporarily remove firearms from someone in crisis.20 These actions are proven to reduce gun violence: Research has found that ERPOs,21 safe storage,22 and universal background checks23 are incredibly effective tools to prevent tragedies before they occur.
Easy access to firearms and weak gun laws in Michigan put communities at risk, endanger future generations, facilitate violent crime, and cost the state more than $16.8 billion per year.
Gov. Whitmer and the gun safety majority in the Michigan House of Representatives and Senate should be applauded for championing these commonsense solutions supported by a majority of voters. Building on that momentum, this report highlights additional opportunities for Michigan policymakers to improve public safety further by enacting popular and proven policies that many other states have successfully adopted to save lives. To complement ongoing efforts to reduce gun violence, Michigan leaders should consider taking the following actions:
- Pass and implement legislation supporting extreme risk protection orders. Extreme risk protection orders empower families, courts, and law enforcement to temporarily remove firearms from individuals in crisis.24 The passage and equitable implementation of an ERPO law in Michigan would help policymakers mitigate the increasing rates of firearm suicide and mass shootings.
- Expand firearm relinquishment protocols and other protections for survivors of domestic violence. Michigan can take steps to enhance protections for survivors and bar dangerous people from accessing firearms. For example, it should pursue strong firearm relinquishment protocols for those charged with a domestic violence misdemeanor, as well as respondents to restraining and protective orders, mandatory reporting of domestic violence misdemeanors to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) database, and emergency restraining order prohibitors.
- Increase support for community-based intervention programs, particularly in areas most affected by gun violence. Community violence intervention programs have proved successful in reducing gun violence, particularly in urban areas and communities of color.25 Policymakers should prioritize expanding these programs by facilitating federal grants for community organizations to develop, build, and replicate evidence-based programs.
- Require state licensing and security measures for federally licensed firearm dealers. Stolen guns fuel violent crime in Michigan and pose a significant risk to public safety. To reduce gun thefts from dealers, policymakers should pass legislation that requires all gun dealers to obtain a state license and implement strong security measures.
- Ban open and concealed carry of guns on government grounds and at public gatherings. To reduce risk of harm and deter armed extremism, Michigan must enact laws that ban both the open and concealed carry of guns on all government grounds and in all publicly operated spaces, as well as during civic demonstrations.
- Leverage federal funding. Michigan leaders should take advantage of federal funding made available through the Community-Based Violence Intervention and Prevention Initiative (CVIPI)26 and the Byrne State Crisis Intervention Program (SCIP)27 to support state implementation of gun violence intervention programs and efforts.
The scope of gun violence in Michigan
Gun violence is a major public health concern in Michigan—and requires immediate attention from state leaders. Every eight hours, a person living in Michigan is killed by a firearm; every two hours, a person is wounded.28 And the latest available data suggest these numbers are only growing: From 2019 to 2021, Michigan’s gun death rate and gun homicide rate increased by 26 percent29 and 50 percent,30 respectively.
Gun violence in Michigan puts every community at risk, but it disproportionately affects communities of color and youth. In 2020, Michigan had the 11th-highest gun homicide rate for Black people across all 50 U.S. states—almost double the national average.31 In fact, Black people in Michigan are 22 times more likely to die by gun homicide than their white counterparts.32 Young people living in Michigan are also particularly vulnerable: Guns result in the death of nearly 276 people ages 0 to 24 in Michigan each year,33 and they kill more young people across the nation than car accidents or cancer.34 Young Black children and teens, again, are disproportionately affected; in Michigan, they are six times more likely to be killed by a firearm than their white counterparts.35
Every eight hours, a person living in Michigan is killed by a firearm; every two hours, a person is wounded.
Meanwhile, gun suicide—another particularly devastating form of gun violence—kills an average of 780 people in Michigan every year,36 while wounding another 34.37 Over the past two decades, gun suicide has prematurely ended the lives of 13,959 people in Michigan,38 with evidence pointing to an alarming increase in gun suicide deaths over the past 15 years. From 2005 to 2009, Michigan’s rate of gun suicides was 5.6 per every 100,000 people,39 but from 2017 to 2021, it rose to 7.1 per every 100,000 people40—a 26.7 percent increase. This upward trend is particularly evident among young people ages 15 to 24. While the average rate of gun suicide among young people was 3.9 per every 100,000 people from 2005 to 2009, it spiked to 7.06 per every 100,000 people from 2017 to 2021—an 81 percent increase.41 In 2021, gun suicide deaths in Michigan reached the highest number on record: 810 residents, an average of two people per day.42
Finally, data indicate that guns are inextricably tied to violent crime in Michigan. The state’s 2021 crime report revealed guns were used in 80 percent of homicides, 45 percent of robberies, and 40 percent of aggravated assaults.43 Moreover, in cases where the weapon could be identified, guns were used to carry out at least 35 hate crimes, 86 rapes,44 and 65 percent of intimate partner homicides against women.45
Michigan gun violence at a glance
of homicides in Michigan from 2018 to 2021 involved use of a firearm
people are estimated to have been killed by guns in Michigan from 2000 to 2021
of all gun deaths among Michiganders ages 24 and under are violent homicides
increase in gun related deaths in Michigan from 2019 to 2021
of gun deaths in Michigan are firearm suicides
people are wounded by guns in Michigan each year
Road map to reducing gun violence in Michigan
In 2021, a 15-year-old student at Oxford High School carried a loaded firearm, which his parents had left unlocked in the home, to school. He used it to kill four of his classmates and injure seven others. The attack also permanently altered the lives of the hundreds of faculty members and students present that day.46 Following the shooting, Michigan lawmakers attempted to pass several gun safety laws, noting that regulations around safe storage or extreme risk protection order legislation could have prevented the violence.47 But state Republican lawmakers blocked the proposed legislation from ever reaching a committee hearing in the legislature.48
Now, the deadly school shooting at Michigan State University has renewed efforts to pass essential lifesaving legislation. Recently, state lawmakers passed ERPO legislation that would allow firearms to be temporarily removed from individuals who pose a risk to others or are at risk of harming themselves.49 As noted above, research has proven that ERPO legislation is incredibly effective at preventing tragedies before they occur;50 in Michigan, it would be an effective way to address growing issues with firearm suicides, school shootings, and threats of mass shootings. Moreover, if Michigan were to pass an ERPO law this year, the state would gain access to millions of dollars in federal funds through the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act to put toward implementation.51
ERPO laws are just one of the many policies that could be instrumental in reducing gun violence in Michigan. The following sections provide a road map for reducing gun violence in Michigan, covering additional actions and policies that can be adopted; implementation recommendations to ensure that laws are as effective and equitable as possible; and federal funds that the state can leverage to support efforts to curb gun violence.
Michigan’s gun violence ranking among all 50 U.S. states and Washington, D.C.
in gun homicides of Black people
in unintentional gun injuries
in overall gun homicides
Implement extreme risk protection order legislation
An extreme risk protection order is a civil remedy that empowers families, courts, and law enforcement to petition a court to temporarily remove firearms from an individual in crisis.52 Proven successful in proactively stopping violent incidents, these laws are designed to provide a legal tool to intervene when there is clear evidence that an individual is experiencing a temporary crisis, poses an imminent risk of harm to themselves or others, and has a firearm.
Currently, Michigan does not have an ERPO law, but given that 56 percent of all gun deaths in Michigan are firearm suicides53 and that 80 percent of people with suicidal thoughts show some sign of their intentions,54 such legislation could help mitigate the state’s growing gun suicide rate. Other states have already seen the implementation of these laws contribute to reductions in gun suicides. A 2018 study found that Indiana experienced a 7.5 percent reduction in firearm suicides in the 10 years following the enactment of its ERPO law.55 Likewise, Connecticut saw a 1.6 percent reduction in gun suicides immediately following the enaction of an ERPO law in 1999 and a 13.7 percent reduction between 2007 and 2015, when enforcement of ERPOs was more common.56 Moreover, data show that for every 10 to 20 ERPOs issued in Connecticut, at least one life is saved.57
Despite the gun lobby’s claims that ERPOs violate due process, courts have continually upheld their constitutionality, ruling in favor of ERPO legislation in Indiana, Connecticut, and Florida.58 ERPO laws include vigorous due process protections, which include notifying the respondent when an ERPO petition has been filed; providing an opportunity for the respondent to be heard and present evidence; and requiring a judicial finding of risk prior to the issuance of an order.59 The respondent is also able to submit a request for the court to reevaluate an order based on new evidence each time that an order is renewed.60
ERPOs are a modest and temporary restriction on an individual’s ability to possess guns that is narrowly tailored to a specific risk imposed only after a judicial finding; therefore, they do not violate the Second Amendment. Additionally, most states include penalties for filing false ERPO petitions. In Michigan, the proposed penalty for false accusations is up to five years in jail and/or a fine of up to $20,000, with penalties increasing in severity for each offense.61
Learn more about ERPOs
Specifically, ERPOs reduce firearm access for respondents deemed at risk of violence by removing any firearms that they currently possess, prohibiting the respondent from possessing firearms for the duration of the ERPO, and preventing the respondent from purchasing additional firearms. To reduce the likelihood that a respondent will subsequently acquire firearms, Michigan should require a state-designated entity to enter ERPO information into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System in order to ensure sales are denied at the point of purchase. Moreover, in order to track and ensure equitable enforcement, this state-designated entity should enter all ERPO case data into a centralized state database and facilitate access to this data for research and policy purposes.62
Ultimately, however, the success of any law is contingent on its implementation, including how often it is enforced and public awareness of it. Preliminary research indicates that lack of knowledge about ERPOs, cultural beliefs that risk is a private matter, mistrust in the justice system, and due process concerns all pose barriers to ERPO efficacy.63 To overcome these barriers, an ERPO law in Michigan must be preceded by the following actions:
- A policy impact assessment that detects unintended consequences for marginalized groups
- Educational interventions to promote policy awareness that engage public health professionals, front-line providers, and community-based organizations
- Culturally affirming communication from trusted messengers to reduce stigma around risk as a private family matter
Additional recommendations to ensure racial equity during implementation include reducing barriers for petitioners; incorporating non-law enforcement intervention professionals, such as behavioral health specialists, in the ERPO process; providing legal assistance to respondents and petitioners; and investing in a social safety net.64 Michigan must consistently assess these actions in order to promote equitable application of the law. Funding to support these efforts can be leveraged through the Byrne State Crisis Intervention Program.65
Protect and support survivors of domestic violence
The involvement of guns in domestic violence situations can exacerbate harm and increase the likelihood of death for victims, perpetrators, and third parties. In fact, research indicates that when abusive partners have access to a gun, women are five times more likely to be killed.66 In Michigan, firearms are used to kill women at an alarming rate: From 2018 to 2021, 395 Michigan women died in firearm homicides,67 with Black women at the highest risk of victimization.68 And although Michigan has restricted domestic abusers’ access to firearms to a certain extent, several critical loopholes leave victims of intimate partner violence vulnerable.
Research indicates that when abusive partners have access to a gun, women are five times more likely to be killed.
For instance, Michigan does not require people charged with domestic violence misdemeanors to relinquish their firearms; nor does it require mandatory reporting of violent misdemeanors to the NICS database.69 Additionally, while individuals who have domestic violence restraining orders against them are prohibited by state law from owning or possessing firearms, these prohibitions only apply after the issuance of a final order.70 The result is that women are left particularly vulnerable to deadly attacks by their intimate partners immediately after the issuance of restraining orders. Research indicates that about one-fifth of women who experience intimate partner violence and have restraining orders against their abusers are killed within two days of that order being issued.71 And although current Michigan law gives courts the authority to prohibit individuals with a temporary order of protection against them from buying or possessing guns, courts are not required to take this step—and there are concerns such action is rarely authorized.72
In order to enhance protections for survivors of domestic violence, Michigan should pass firearm relinquishment protocols for domestic abusers, require reporting of domestic violence misdemeanors to the NICS database, and bar domestic abusers with restraining orders and protective orders against them from purchasing or possessing a firearm. Such firearm purchase and possession prohibitors should be mandated when a protection order is first issued to prevent deadly retaliation from abusers. These laws are essential for reducing intimate partner violence: Research indicates court orders that require firearm removal, such as domestic violence protective orders or restraining orders, are associated with a 12 percent reduction in intimate partner homicides.73
Policymakers should also consider legislation barring convicted stalkers from accessing firearms and take advantage of state-allocated funding to support the development of culturally relevant victim services that incorporate the voices and experiences of survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
Expand support for community-based violence intervention programs
Gun violence in Michigan has a disproportionate impact on Black communities and tends to be concentrated in urban counties. In fact, despite making up only 15 percent of Michigan’s population, Black people suffer roughly 79 percent of gun homicides in the state.74 Additionally, from 2015 to 2019, the rate of gun homicides against young Black people in urban Michigan counties was more than 33 times greater than it was for young white people living in the same area.75
In order to address disproportionate rates of gun violence, particularly in historically underserved communities of color, it is essential to support and promote the development of community-based violence intervention and prevention programs. By employing individuals with direct lived experience, these programs empower affected communities and apply a localized approach to gun violence prevention. In particular, they identify individuals in the community who are at the highest risk for perpetrating or experiencing violence, work to reduce this risk through targeted interventions with trusted messengers, and connect at-risk individuals with the necessary support services.76 Across the nation, cities have seen significant reductions in deaths and shootings in neighborhoods most affected by gun violence following the implementation of community-based intervention (CVI) programs—including models such as Advance Peace, Group Violence Intervention, Cure Violence, and hospital-based interventions.77
Learn more about CVI programs
CVI programs have already seen success in Michigan. A Kalamazoo program was recently credited by the local Department of Public Safety for contributing to a significant and steady decrease in gun violence after a two-year spike in 2020 and 2021; evidence indicates that following an increased use of the program in 2020, Kalamazoo has experienced its lowest number of shots fired in four years.78 Michigan policymakers should work to expand these efforts and invest in community-driven, evidence-based interventions across their state. In March 2023, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation allocating $10 million to support community providers of violence intervention services.79 Policymakers and local leaders can extend these efforts to counties outside Kalamazoo by facilitating grants for community organizations to develop and expand evidence-based violence interruption programs, including hospital-based violence intervention initiatives, street outreach programs, and group violence intervention programs that are customized to fit the needs of individual jurisdictions and seek to proactively interrupt cycles of violence. This support should be targeted toward communities with high rates of gun homicides against young Black people, as well as communities with high rates of nonfatal gunshot injuries.
Currently, however, many U.S. CVI programs lack sufficient resources, making implementation efforts challenging.80 To complement expanded state funding for these programs, Michigan state departments and law enforcement agencies should utilize all available federal resources from the Community-Based Violence Intervention and Prevention Initiative.81 Funding made available through this program can be used to support and develop comprehensive, evidence-based violence intervention and prevention programs in Michigan’s most affected communities.
Require federally licensed firearm dealers to obtain a state license and follow security measures
An estimated 200,000 to 400,000 firearms are stolen across the nation every year.82 And alarmingly, a Trace analysis of 23,000 stolen guns recovered by police found that most of these firearms are later used in crimes such as robberies, murders, and kidnappings.83 According to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), 12,329 stolen firearms were recovered in Michigan in 2021, and of these, at least 4,629 were used to commit a crime less than one year after the initial theft.84
While the majority of these thefts come from private owners, firearms stolen from licensed dealers also pose a significant issue in Michigan.85 From 2017 to 2021, 1,096 firearms were stolen from federally licensed gun dealers in the state—an average of nine stolen firearms per each federal firearm licensee (FFL) theft.86 At least 450 of these firearms were recovered after crimes,87 most of which took place in Michigan: 95 percent of the guns were found in state, with Detroit, Flint, and Pontiac as the top three recovery cities.88 Given that strong gun dealer regulations and oversight are associated with 64 percent lower in-state gun trafficking rates, Michigan would greatly benefit from expanding gun dealer licensing.89
12,329 stolen firearms were recovered in Michigan in 2021, and of these, at least 4,629 were used to commit a crime less than one year after the initial theft.
Gun theft from dealers often occurs during burglaries and after business hours.90 These thefts are facilitated by a lack of protective fences, alarm systems, or other security measures. Often, dealers are protected only by a glass window; burglars, therefore, see them as easy targets.91 Moreover, Michigan does not require gun dealers to obtain a state license, which creates a major oversight gap. Such measures have already been implemented by 16 states and Washington, D.C.,92 and Michigan should follow suit.
To obtain a state license, dealers should be required to implement strong security measures and lock up firearms after business hours. These efforts would complement the steps Michigan has already taken to reduce gun theft, such as mandatory reporting for lost and stolen firearms.
Ban guns in public spaces
2020 saw a surge in armed extremist activity across the United States, much of which took the form of protests against restrictive COVID-19 ordinances and misinformation around the election results.93 Michigan has been at the heart of these demonstrations, with armed protestors storming the state capitol on numerous occasions94 and even convicted of conspiring to kidnap Gov. Whitmer.95 After the armed demonstrations in 2020, the Michigan State Capitol Commission banned open carry in public areas inside the Capitol building, exempting only law enforcement officers and people with a valid concealed carry license.96 In May 2021, the commission voted to extend the ban to prohibit everyone outside law enforcement from carrying a concealed weapon on public Capitol grounds, regardless of licenses.97 Although this is a step in the right direction, loopholes around public carry of firearms continue to leave Michigan uniquely vulnerable to gun violence and armed demonstrations in sensitive locations.
Guns in public spaces pose a danger to public safety and increase the risk of violent confrontation. Research shows that the visible presence of guns in public increases the risk of aggressive behavior among individuals and can quickly turn everyday interactions into fatal altercations,98 and laws that allow for concealed carry are associated with higher rates of gun violence.99 Moreover, evidence indicates the carry of firearms during civic demonstrations increases the likelihood of on-site violence sixfold.100 Therefore, it is essential to limit gun carrying in public spaces that are particularly sensitive to or unsuitable for firearms, such as schools, houses of worship, and government buildings, as well as during civic demonstrations.
Guns in public spaces pose a danger to public safety and increase the risk of violent confrontation.
Many states have taken steps to address this problem. As of January 2023, Illinois, North Dakota, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Oklahoma, and South Carolina prohibited both the open and concealed carry of guns inside government-owned buildings.101 Similarly, 11 states and the District of Columbia prohibit both open and concealed carry in state Capitol buildings, statehouses, and/or state offices.102 While these are prudent steps to protect public well-being, Michigan must strengthen these efforts and enact laws that ban open and concealed carry on all government grounds, in all publicly operated spaces, and during all civic demonstrations.
It should look to Virginia, which recently passed a law creating an exception to a state preemption law and allowing localities to limit gun carrying in publicly operated spaces such as local parks or buildings used for governmental purposes.103
Leverage the federal fund of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act
In February 2023, the U.S. Department of Justice announced more than $200 million in awards to states as part of SCIP, a flexible federal grant opportunity authorized by the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act to fund gun violence prevention programs.104 This program provides $750 million over five years in federal grants to help states implement gun violence intervention programs and efforts, including public awareness campaigns for safe firearm storage and ERPO laws.105 SCIP funding can also be used to implement programs; provide training; promote awareness; support specialized programs, including drug courts, mental health courts, veterans’ courts, and behavioral health crisis intervention programs; and even fund law enforcement efforts to safely store and track firearms.106
Through this grant, the Michigan State Police Department was able to leverage nearly $8 million in funding for the 2023 fiscal year. It used the money for judicial threat assessment trainings; education and outreach programs for parents, youth, and victim services; and behavioral threat assessment trainings.107 Going forward, Michigan should pursue future opportunities to leverage money from SCIP to support programs and communities that need them most.
To apply for this funding, the state is required to create a crisis advisory board—and should include on it non-law enforcement representatives, such as representatives from the community and survivors of gun violence, in addition to the currently required representatives from victim services, courts, prosecution, and legal counsel. Moreover, given the recent passage of safe storage requirements in Michigan and the introduction of ERPO legislation in the statehouse, future funding from this grant should also focus on educational interventions to promote policy awareness, particularly in communities at elevated risk of gun violence victimization.
Address the rise of Second Amendment “sanctuaries”
While research indicates the policies discussed above are proven ways to reduce gun-related injuries or deaths, the effectiveness of these actions hinges on how often they are enforced. Unfortunately, many Michigan counties have passed resolutions to signal their resistance to enforcing many of the new state laws. Since 2020, more than half of Michigan’s 83 counties have declared themselves to be Second Amendment “sanctuaries” or adopted resolutions explicitly rejecting the enforcement of state or federal gun laws perceived to violate the Second Amendment.108 The 53 mostly rural counties that have passed resolutions refusing to enforce laws they believe unconstitutional represent roughly 30 percent of Michigan’s residents.109
These resolutions put lives at risk and prevent people from taking advantage of gun safety laws to prevent suicide, homicide, or mass shootings; in short, they make gun laws unavailable to those who need them most.110 Rather than being grounded in the constitution, Second Amendment “sanctuaries” are based on an unfounded backlash against the state’s democratically elected legislature and voting majority. The Second Amendment does establish the right to bear arms, but the U.S. Supreme Court has long upheld the legality of prohibiting dangerous people from possessing firearms. And no local governments or law enforcement entities in the United States have the ability to decide that a state or federal law is unconstitutional without a court ruling.111
Michigan currently has preemption legislation that prohibits local governments from enacting resolutions that are inconsistent with state laws and, more directly, specifically prohibits local governments from regulating firearms.112 Sheriffs who decline to enforce initiatives can and should be held liable if their refusal to enforce state laws results in a dangerous or at-risk individual harming themselves or others with a firearm.
Easy access to firearms and weak gun laws in Michigan put communities at risk, endanger future generations, facilitate violent crime, and cost the state more than $16.8 billion per year.113 Fortunately, the Michigan Legislature, supported by Gov. Whitmer, has enacted policies that will meaningfully address gun violence in the state. To continue this progress and keep communities safe, policymakers should consider the tools, policies, and guidance detailed in this report.
The author wishes to thank Lynna Kaucheck, Christian Sinderman, and Lisa Geller for their support on this report.