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MI Democrat controlled legislature could push semiautomatic firearms ban in 2023 session

Rep. Pepper of Dearborn hopes new leadership in the House will take up the issue.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Newly introduced bills in Lansing would ban future sales and ownership of semiautomatic rifles and the open carry of them in Michigan.

On the anniversary of the Oxford High School shooting last week, State Rep. Jeffrey Pepper of Dearborn introduced two bills to address gun violence.

One bill would ban the possession and sale of semiautomatic rifles in 2024 and the other would ban open carry of long firearms in public spaces. 

In a statement Pepper wrote: "Michigan has had 24 mass shootings this year, and Michiganders are rightly ANGRY. My office has been contacted all year by constituents asking WHEN and HOW we are going to take action." 

Great Lakes Gun Rights, a local gun rights organization, opposes the bills.

"In fact one of the bills, HB 6545 which bans open carry of rifles and shotguns in Michigan, makes it a 5 year felony to open carry a long gun in Michigan. That's more jail time than assaulting a police officer," said Brenden Boudreau, Executive Director of Great Lakes Gun Rights. 

These bills wouldn't pass now because it's late in the session, but Boudreau thinks Democrats would push similar bills once they take the majority next session.

However, he says, they should be careful doing so.

"The National Foundation for Gun Rights is already suing several states for so called assault weapons bans on the books," said Boudreau. "It's very possible we could see the U.S. Supreme Court take up such a ban and that's where Democrats in Lansing need to be considering if they actually want to push something like this, because it could cost taxpayers millions of dollars in legal fees if the Supreme Court is just going to knock it down anyway."

Rep. Pepper wrote in a news release: "If the federal government won't reinstate the automatic weapons ban that drastically reduced gun violence in the 90s, then it's time we take it into our own hands."

Rep. Pepper hopes new leadership in the House will take up this issue.

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