Democrats in Lansing, with narrow control of the state legislature, muscled through a raft of anti-gun measures on Thursday. 

The Michigan State Senate approved 11 different bills that include Extreme Risk Protection Orders, so-called red flag laws, that brush over a person’s rights to due process and legal representation in favor of a state-enforced gun seizure for up to a year. Other proposals that saw success are storage mandates that prevent a person from quickly accessing a firearm for self-defense, coupled with an expansion of state gun licensing requirements.

Republican lawmakers who opposed the gun control scheme said the bills will have little effect on crime and argue they were only passed by progressive Dems looking to bank on easy optics with their base. 

"Just because something is good for publicity, doesn’t mean it’s good policy," said state Sen. Jim Runestad, a Republican who voted with the minority against the bills. "In the Democrats’ effort to capitalize on public tragedy in order to ‘do something,’ they have pushed to enshrine the manifesto of far-left anti-gun radicals into Michigan law. Their ‘something’ is an attack on the freedoms and liberties of law-abiding citizens."

A breakdown of the legislation by the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action: 

Senate Bills 7677, and 78 further criminalize private transfers of firearms by expanding Michigan’s handgun permit-to-purchase system to all firearms. This adds rifle and shotgun transfers to the state registry. It also removes the pistol permit-to-purchase exemption for transfers conducted by licensed firearm dealers who conduct instant federal background checks, meaning prospective handgun purchasers must apply for, and receive, a permit prior to being able to go to a gun store to take possession of a handgun.

Senate Bills 798081, and 82 impose a mandatory storage scheme for firearm owners, not taking into account an individual’s particular situation. Those not storing firearms in compliance face prison time of up to 15 years and fines of up to $7,500, for unauthorized access by minors. In District of Columbia v. Heller, the U.S. Supreme Court held that storage provisions that prevent a law-abiding American from having ready access to a firearm for self-defense are unconstitutional.

Senate Bills 838485, and 86 allow the seizure of an individual’s firearms on baseless accusations, without a hearing or other opportunity for the evidence to be heard in court. They permit the government to seize firearms based on weak and nebulous standards of evidence.

A person subject to a suspension of a Constitutional right should be entitled to high evidentiary standards, an opportunity to be heard, and the right to face his or her accusers. Civil liberties advocates from across the political spectrum have expressed concerns about these “red flag” bills and how the procedure might lead to abuses because of insufficient due process protections in the bills.

The measures are similar to bills already approved by the Democrat-controlled Michigan House. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, speaking at a gun control rally in front of the State Capitol on Wednesday, said she plans to sign the measures into law. Meanwhile, state Attorney General Dana Nessel said she will defend the laws in court should they be challenged.

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