LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan House of Representatives voted late Wednesday night to expand background checks for purchasing a gun. There are about a dozen gun reform bills in the state House right now.
The Democratic majority was in support of the House Bill 4138 to require a license or background check for the purchase of a firearm. All House Republicans in attendance voted against it.
Two similar bills also passed 56 to 53 to update references to pistol in penal code and to update references in sentencing guidelines pertaining to weapons.
While there are already federal background checks, this bill aimed to expand background checks to include all firearms bought in Michigan.
State Representative Phil Skaggs, a Democrat representing the 80th district, was confident before the session that the bill would pass.
"These safety bills are really about keeping people safe while balancing our Second Amendment rights. And I think that we have found the correct balance in that in those two efforts," he said.
Before the vote, State Representative Luke Meerman said he was not in support of this bill. He argued that other cities with stricter gun laws still see gun violence and lawmakers should focus on providing more mental health resources to help people who are struggling.
"[Criminals] will find a way to do harm. What we need to do is try to find and get them help, or if in some cases, get them off the street," he said "We got to make sure that we do enforce the laws we have on the books now."
This vote is the start of the state legislature weighing multiple gun reform measures.
The other bills working through the state House call for safe storage laws, make gun safety devices exempt from state sales and use taxes and establish extreme risk protection orders to prevent people deemed dangerous from owning a gun.
The Senate's civil rights, judiciary and public safety committees are expected to meet Thursday to hold a hearing on the senate's 11 bill package targeting these same measures.
►Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the 13 ON YOUR SIDE app now.
Have a news tip? Email firstname.lastname@example.org, visit our Facebook page or Twitter. Subscribe to our YouTube channel.