GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Gun violence survivors and community leaders are calling on the new state legislature to prioritize anti-gun violence bills.
The coalition, End Gun Violence Michigan, held news conferences statewide Wednesday morning, including in Grand Rapids.
"They started a new system at my school when a potential threat is identified... The principal gets on the loud speaker, and says, 'teachers, check your emails. Students, don't worry," said Huggett. "But how are we supposed to not worry? I wonder if that's what they told the students at Oxford, Uvalde and all the other schools."
Haley Huggett, 15, missed school Wednesday to represent her fellow students in the fight against gun violence.
"I think this is the first time I really remember feeling like, 'holy crap, I might die today and all I did was go to school,' and that's a really terrifying thing to live with when you're 15 and you're looking around the classroom with all your friends," she said.
Now that the new legislature has a majority of members who favor gun reform, the End Gun Violence Michigan coalition is hoping they'll move as quickly as possible to get measures passed including:
- Safe storage laws, which would require guns in homes with children to be locked safely away.
The group states that when implemented in Florida, safe storage reduced youth firearm deaths by 51%.
- Universal background checks for all firearm purchases
- Domestic abuser firearm restrictions
- Extreme risk protection orders, which would allow a judge to temporarily remove firearms from someone who may be a risk for harming themselves or others
Huggett's mother is a pediatrician and leads the gun safety work group at Corewell Health.
"If children and people didn't get ahold of unsecured guns then obviously, it would save lives. As I spoke about, 80% of the time suicide alone, that young person took the gun from their own home," said Dr. Kelly Huggett, a Pediatrician with Corewell Health.
This issue isn't about asking people to get rid of their guns, according to Dr. Kelly. It's about asking for responsible gun ownership and safe storage.
"We need the world to know that we're not going to back down until this issue is solved," said Haley.
Rep. Kristian Grant of the 82nd House District was asked during the news conference whether 100 days was a feasible amount of time to act and she responded that it's difficult to say, but this is an important conversation the legislature is willing to address.
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