Michigan State University students inquire lawmakers about efforts to prevent school shootings

One year after a tragic shooting that resulted in the loss of three lives on Michigan State University’s campus, students are still in the process of healing and commemorating what they experienced on Feb. 13, 2023.

Despite their efforts to properly grieve this week, MSU student Saylor Reinders expressed on Thursday at an MSU student rally on the Michigan Capitol steps that it’s challenging. The communities of MSU, Northern Illinois University, and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are facing the painful anniversaries of shootings at their institutions this week. Additionally, a mass shooting during the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl celebration injured over 20 individuals, with one confirmed fatality as of Thursday.

As of now, there have been 49 mass shootings in 2024.

“It’s everywhere. It’s all the time. We can’t escape it,” Reinders remarked at the Michigan Capitol steps. “No words can truly capture the past year’s experience, but I can say that despite the mix of emotions like anger, sadness, grief, and confusion while trying to navigate college life, we never gave up. I commend the relentless efforts of students who gathered at the Capitol a year ago and have continued to advocate for change every day since then.”

MSU student and gun violence prevention organizer Maya Manuel emphasized the urgency during a discussion with Democratic lawmakers following the rally.

Manuel recounted her meeting with lawmakers, including state Sen. Sam Singh (D-East Lansing), a year ago, pleading for action. A rally with hundreds of students took place at the Capitol just two days after the tragic shooting that claimed the lives of three students and injured others.

Lawmakers responded by introducing gun safety bills shortly after the rally, which came into effect exactly one year after the MSU shooting.

“I vividly recall looking you in the eyes and telling you that the responsibility will fall on you next,” Manuel stated. “You took that message to your colleagues and swiftly produced those bills just two days later.”

The newly implemented laws, formulated in response to the MSU incident, mandate safe firearm storage from minors, universal background checks for firearm purchases, extreme risk protection orders, and expanded restrictions on gun ownership for individuals convicted of domestic violence-related crimes.

While progress has been made, Manuel stressed the need for ongoing efforts to curb gun violence in Michigan, citing past incidents like the Oxford High School shooting.

During a meeting with a few lawmakers in the Capitol on Thursday, Manuel urged them to advocate for further action.”

Revealing the political landscape, Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks commented that the current 54-54 partisan split in the Michigan House, stemming from two Democratic members winning mayoral races, serves as a barrier for additional gun policy actions predominantly supported by Democratic votes. Special elections are slated for April 16.

“We lack Republican members willing to support gun safety measures,” Brinks noted. “Despite the remaining policy agenda, the lack of progress can be disheartening. We share your concerns and will remain committed to the cause.”

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