Michigan Republican US House candidate Tom Barrett runs on his opposition to gun safety - TAI News
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Michigan Republican U.S. House candidate Tom Barrett in an image posted to his campaign website (Image from tombarrettforcongress.com)

Former Michigan Republican state Sen. Tom Barrett is touting an endorsement from former President Donald Trump in his campaign for the state’s open 7th Congressional District seat. In his message of support, Trump specifically highlights Barrett’s consistent support for gun rights.

Barrett is seeking the House seat being vacated by Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin, who is running for the U.S. Senate, after losing a challenge to Slotkin 51.7%-46.3% two years ago. His presumed Democratic opponent is former Democratic state Sen. Curtis Hertel.

In a June 17 tweet, Barrett wrote: “Thank you President Trump for your confidence in my campaign. I’m looking forward to winning in November and working with your Administration on policies that will reverse the damage done by Joe Biden, to secure our border, defeat the drug cartels, rebuild our economy, and make America the leader in the world once again.” He included a screenshot of a social media post under Trump’s name that said, “Tom Barrett will be an incredible Representative for the wonderful people of Michigan’s 7th Congressional District!” and that Barrett will “Protect our always under siege Second Amendment.”

Barrett ran for the state Legislature in 2014, with his campaign website noting his membership in the National Rifle Association near the top of his bio. In the state House of Representatives and Senate, he voted in favor of the group’s interests consistently, earning a 100% rating in 2022, according to Vote Smart. 

His campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

In 2015, Barrett proposed a bill to exempt military service members from complying with gun-free zones, including schools and day care centers.

Barrett co-sponsored a 2021 resolution arguing that Michigan need not comply with federal gun laws. Its text expressed the sense of the Senate “that all federal acts, laws, orders, rules, and regulations, whether past, present, or future, which infringe on the people’s right to keep and bear arms … are specifically rejected by this legislative body, should be considered invalid in this state, should not be recognized by this state, and should be considered null and void and of no effect in this state.” 

That same year, he co-sponsored a bill to allow individuals to carry concealed firearms without a license. “There is no evidence that these current laws actually keep us safer,” he argued. “Individuals already undergo a background check when purchasing a firearm and these bills do not stop that requirement. Instead, this forced government revenue stream requires law-abiding citizens to jump through hoops to exercise their constitutional rights.”

The NRA rewarded him with $1,500 in donations to his legislative campaigns, a $4,950 PAC contribution for his 2022 race, and more than $12,000 in additional outside spending to support him.

Michigan has had a number of mass shootings, including a 2021 attack at an Oxford high school and a 2023 attack at Michigan State University. In the aftermath, the Democratic-led Legislature and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer joined to adopt new laws to disarm dangerous individuals and curb gun violence in schools.

Hertel, whose son was a Michigan State University student present on campus during the 2023 mass shooting, backed the gun safety reforms and promises on his campaign website to support efforts aimed at protecting Michigan residents from gun violence.

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