Red flag laws stuck while Second Amendment sanctuary idea grows

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Capital News Service

LANSING —  Legislation to allow law enforcement officials to temporarily confiscate firearms if their owners are a risk to themselves or others has remained stalled in committee for a year. 

The extreme risk protection order — or “red flag” — bills would allow law enforcement officials to get a court order to seize weapons under such circumstances.
Seventeen states have red flag laws, including Illinois and Indiana, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts. 

House and Senate members introduced the bills in February 2019, and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer tweeted her support. 

Rep. Julie Brixie, D-Meridian Township, a co-sponsor, said, “Frankly, it comes down to a very partisan issue.

“Republicans want the laws we have on the books now. They are only going to be relaxed further, whereas Democrats are the ones that are trying to enact common sense gun laws.
“Polling data shows that a vast majority of Americans and gun owners themselves support a lot of these common-sense protections, and the Legislature is unwilling to act on that,” Brixie said.
While those bills are stalled, lawmakers on the opposite side of the issue have introduced other proposals to combat tighter gun controls.
For example, Rep. Gary Eisen, R-St. Clair Township, recently introduced a resolution that would declare Michigan a Second Amendment sanctuary state and “affirm its support of the rights ensured and protected by the constitutions of the United States and Michigan.” 

Other sponsors include Reps. Brad Paquette, R-Niles, and Gregory Markkanen, R-Hancock.

At the local level, an increasing number of county commissions are voting on resolutions to become “Second Amendment sanctuaries.” 

Seventeen counties have passed such symbolic resolutions: Alcona, Cheboygan, Chippewa, Delta, Iosco, Kalkaska, Lapeer, Mackinac, Marquette, Montmorency, Osceola, Oscoda, Ostego, Presque Isle, Sanilac, St. Clair and, most recently, Ionia, according to the county resolutions.

Instead of passing a  resolution, the Antrim and Monroe county commissions “reaffirmed their constitutional rights” without using the term “sanctuary,” according to the county commissions’ websites. 

Livingston and Wexford counties are among those whose commissions are considering similar resolutions.

Local citizens have pushed for many of the  resolutions, including a popular Facebook group called Michigan for 2A Sanctuary Counties.
Jeremy Arndt, a resident of Montcalm County and member of the Facebook group, said red flag laws “deprive people of something they have a right to. They have a right to self-defense, which, at its origins, is the right to defend yourself and your family and defend against a government if it should turn tyrannical. 

“That’s the whole purpose of the Second Amendment and why people should be able to defend themselves,” Arndt said.

Not all public officials agree.

“I think it’s ridiculous,” Brexie said. “It’s harder to get cold and flu medicine in Michigan than it is to buy a gun. [Gun violence] is literally a health epidemic.” 

States with red flag laws. Credit: Giffords Law Center.

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