Legislation that will prevent convicted domestic abusers in Michigan from possessing firearms is headed to Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s desk after the state House of Representatives passed the bill Wednesday night.
The bill states, “A person convicted of a misdemeanor involving domestic violence shall not possess, use, transport, sell, purchase, carry, ship, receive, or distribute a firearm or ammunition in this state until the expiration of 8 years after” that person has completed their sentence, paid off any fines related to their conviction, and completed all conditions of probation. It also increases the number of years people convicted of felony domestic violence cannot possess a firearm from three to eight.
The bill passed by a vote of 58 to 52, with two Republicans joining every Democrat to vote for the legislation. The legislation passed in the state Senate on Oct. 11.
“Our bills to protect domestic violence survivors from firearm deaths passed the House this evening with bipartisan support!!” Democratic state Sen. Stephanie Chang, who introduced the Senate version of the bill, tweeted Wednesday night. “We are another step closer to making this [commonsense] solution the law in Michigan.”
Each year, more than 600 women are shot to death in the United States by an intimate partner, according to Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a group started by former Arizona U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords after she survived a gunshot wound to the head.
Gun violence prevention groups also note the strong connection between domestic violence and mass shootings.
According to a study by the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, 68.2% of mass shootings that took place between 2014 and 2019 were carried out by people who either had a history of domestic violence or had killed a member of their family or an intimate partner.
“Gun violence has many forms, but it is clear that a history of interpersonal violence should be a deciding factor in whether or not an individual should continue to have access to a gun,” Lisa Geller, lead author of the study, said in a news release about the study.
In Michigan alone, 70 women and children are killed annually by armed domestic abusers, according to End Gun Violence Michigan.
“This is a huge victory for domestic violence survivors,” Kelly Dillaha, the Michigan program director of the women’s advocacy group Red, Wine & Blue, said in a statement. “As a child, I lived through the traumatic experience of domestic violence with a gun. I’m so relieved and proud that fewer little girls will have to live through that same nightmare. Today, we’re giving domestic violence survivors the hope and safety they deserve.”