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Education Leaders Praise the Signing of “Red Flag” Laws

LANSING – Michigan’s education leaders praised the passage and signing of Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) legislation today—building on other commonsense gun safety laws enacted this legislative session.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Senate Bill 83 and House Bills 4146, 4147, and 4148, often referred to as “Red Flag” laws, that would allow specified individuals to petition a court for an ERPO for another individual.

If the court determined that an ERPO was necessary because the individual posed a significant risk of personal injury to himself or herself or others by possessing a firearm, the court would have to issue the order. An ERPO would prohibit the individual from possessing or purchasing a firearm, among other prohibitions. The bills also would prescribe penalties for noncompliance with an ERPO and for knowingly and intentionally making a false statement to the court while filing an action.

“As we continue to push for actionable steps to curb gun violence in our state, I applaud Governor Whitmer and the Michigan Legislature for ensuring safer environments for our children and reducing chances for firearms to reach hands unfit to possess them,” said State Board of Education President Dr. Pamela Pugh. “It is encouraging to know that this new set of laws also ensures that the focus of this intervention remains on keeping our communities safe – rather than promoting unjust social or cultural biases – by penalizing anyone who misuses or falsely represents someone's threat level to society.”

The murders of four students and the wounding of seven others at Oxford High School in 2021 and the murders of three and wounding of seven Michigan State University students this past February made clear the need for state laws to protect Michigan’s school campuses and communities.

“As a gun owner, you have a responsibility to properly store your gun and lock it.  That is in your control. What is not in any of our control is the actions of others,” said State Board of Education co-Vice President Tiffany Tilley. “Growing up in Detroit, having lost loved ones due to gun violence and even suicide, I feel the helplessness that so many Michiganders have felt wanting to protect themselves but having no recourse. Oxford and MSU have highlighted what so many families face, as well as the heaviness and pain we live with every day. Our new ERPO laws will help family members and friends who may be going through private battles or mental health issues, to keep them and others safe until they can get the support that they need. These laws help us get one step closer to providing families with a peace of mind, as well as making Michigan a safer place to call home.”

The Red Flag laws signed today follow the signing of six bills on April 13 that will require universal background checks for all gun sales in Michigan; require safe storage of guns and ammunition in homes; and lower the costs for the purchase of firearm safety devices.

“Michiganders support commonsense gun laws to help make our schools and communities safer,” said State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice. “Students, teachers, and other staff members deserve safer schools, and Michigan residents safer communities. These laws enacted by the Michigan legislature and supported and signed into law by the governor are long overdue and very much appreciated.”

In March, the State Board of Education has adopted a Safer School Environments resolution strongly urging the state legislature to adopt the governor’s budget recommendations for additional funding for children’s mental health and school safety and to pass safer gun laws which do not promote the hardening of schools, and which include commonsense gun measures on which Michiganders largely agree to make students and staff safer in Michigan schools.