Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed “red flag” legislation into law Monday aimed at keeping firearms away from individuals at risk of harming themselves or others.
The Democratic governor’s move to sign the bill, which permits certain people to petition a judge to remove guns from those believed to pose a threat, comes as some local sheriffs have threatened not to enforce it.
“For those who are in law enforcement who refuse to enforce these important orders, let me say this loudly and clearly: I will make certain that I find someone with jurisdiction who will enforce these orders,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel declared at the signing.
The new law is set to take effect in spring and allows family members, police, mental health professionals, roommates, and former dating partners to issue the petitions.
Judges will then have 24 hours to decide on a protection order after a request is filed, and if granted, a hearing will be scheduled for the flagged individual to prove they do not pose a significant risk.
Democratic lawmakers in Michigan indicated after Whitmer’s signing that the red flag restrictions are just the beginning of a slate of gun reforms they have prepared.
“This represents a floor for the types of intervention that we can do,” Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II hinted.
Michigan is now the 21st state to have implemented a red flag law, joining the likes of California, Florida, Nevada, Virginia, Illinois, and New York.
Just last week, Minnesota approved a red flag law. Former Democratic Congresswoman Gabby Giffords of Arizona, who in 2011 was shot in the head and suffered a brain injury, attended the signing.
“Stopping gun violence takes courage,” Giffords said alongside fellow Democrat, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz. “Now is the time to come together. Be responsible. Democrat, Republican, independent — we must never stop [the] fight!”
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