Monthly Informational Meeting
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Comment from the Chair
It is Time for Common Sense Gun Legislation
Run, Hide, Fight! Those were the words students, faculty, and staff at MSU received in a text last month in the immediate aftermath of the mass shooting that left three students dead and five seriously injured. Sadly, these are also the words of guidance given to our children who are regularly subjected to active shooter drills in their school classrooms. Today’s drills create much more uneasiness compared to the “duck and cover” drills some of us baby boomers experienced cowering underneath our desks during the Cold War era. We were fortunate because we never actually experienced a nuclear attack while today’s students regularly see news reports of their peers being slaughtered by senseless gun violence. In the twenty-four years since the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado there have been 336 episodes of gun violence in American schools. Is it any wonder that our current generation of young people report higher levels of anxiety, depression, and lack of trust in our nation-wide culture’s ability or even its willingness to protect them from harm?
Fortunately, our elected officials in Lansing have had enough of the dithering and are in the process of providing more than the superfluous response of “thoughts and prayers” that have followed previous gun violence. The Democratic majorities in the Michigan house and senate have proposed solid, common-sense gun safety laws that will result in making it much more difficult for a person suffering from mental illness or who has a history of legal problems, anger, and violence to get their hands on a gun. Handguns and assault rifles are manufactured primarily to kill other human beings and as such should be owned only by those willing to be trained, certified, insured, and licensed to properly store and use them. These requirements would be no more restrictive than what we currently require to operate a motor vehicle on Michigan’s roads.
These new regulations will not make it harder for mentally healthy, law-abiding people to buy and own a gun. The regulations will not require lawful gun owners to give up their current cache of guns. It will only require them to be obtained legally and stored securely to prevent unauthorized use. Michigan’s new gun laws will not make it harder for homeowners to defend their property, their lives, or their loved ones. If carrying a loaded handgun in public makes you feel more secure you will still be permitted if you have been properly trained and certified to use it safely. Michigan’s common sense gun safety laws have absolutely no intention to impede your ability to hunt or engage in target shooting.
Sadly, these progressive Michigan regulations will not totally stop gun violence. There are currently over 393 million registered firearms in the United States which represents more than one gun for every man, woman, and child. This means that there are plenty of guns available if someone really wants to misuse them. At least now in Michigan it will
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Comments from the Chair
Michigan Democratic Initiatives
It’s going to be a
be required that all these weapons and ammunition be safely stored to prevent unauthorized or unsafe use. THAT is at least an important positive action step forward! These regulations must not be stymied by the NRA lobbying money which screams the insanity of “If guns are outlawed then only outlaws will have guns.”
Along with their work on common sense gun safety legislation the Democrat-led legislature in Lansing has delivered on their promises to take action to improve the quality of life for many Michigan residents who deserve assistance. The 2012 income tax on government and private pensions has been repealed which should put an average of $1000/year back into retiree’s bank accounts and the Working Family Tax Credit has been increased by 5X which will result in an average of $3,000/year benefit to families making less than $60,000/year in 2022. An immediate $180 tax rebate is being held up by the opposition party’s refusal to implement it prior to April 18, 2023. The opposition wants to implement an income tax reduction of less than a quarter of one percent that would not take effect until 2024 and would preferentially benefit those with high incomes and profitable corporations more than the lower income people who would benefit from the immediate rebate checks. The proposed state income tax reduction would also have the potential to cause future cuts to state government programs and services due to lack of funding.
We must give credit to our regional elected representatives in Lansing for holding townhall meetings to listen to the concerns of their constituents. We have been impressed with how John Roth has interacted with us here in Manistee County holding two meetings in Kaleva and Onekama. After he was reminded that he was elected to represent everyone in his district and not just those who voted for him, his meetings provided good insight into the issues and policies he is working on. He certainly appears willing to work across the aisle for the best interests of all the people in his district. As I write this Kurt Vanderwall has scheduled his first constituent meetings on Friday March 3rd, but he will not be in Manistee County for any of those meetings. State Senators Jon Bumstead and Michelle Hoitenga according to their social media pages have not yet scheduled any time to meet directly with residents in their new senate districts. It is a shame that their social media postings indicate that they are much less willing to make the effort to communicate, collaborate, and compromise in Lansing. It appears that those two are struggling to find a way to work as the minority in the senate after enjoying 40 years in the majority in Lansing.
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