FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: FEBRUARY 14, 2022
New Group: Legislature Must Pass Gun Violence Laws or We'll Go to the Ballot
Survivors of gun violence in Oxford and Detroit share stories to launch End Gun Violence Michigan
Detroit – During a Zoom teleconference today, a statewide group of leaders announced the start of a new effort called End Gun Violence Michigan.
“From big cities like Detroit to small towns like Oxford, gun violence is tearing our communities apart. We can't stand by anymore while more people, including our children, are killed. Our message to the legislature is simple: make change or we'll take common-sense gun violence prevention measures to the people,” said Bishop Bonnie Perry of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan, “We can have safety and a sensible gun culture in our state.”
The organization will first encourage the legislature to take action. Members are considering popular reforms such as universal background checks, safe storage measures that require guns in homes with children to be secured, and prohibitions on guns at government buildings like the state Capitol. If the legislature fails to act, it may be time to start a ballot initiative.
The group formed out of a shared sense of anger and frustration after years of inaction and countless avoidable gun deaths. Though stirred to action by the recent school shooting in Oxford, gun violence has been a daily problem in communities in Michigan for years, especially cities like Detroit.
Organizations represented on the group's steering committee include March for our Lives - Michigan, the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan, Michigan United, the Charles W. Reid Community Center, Oakland Forward, Church of the Messiah, Interfaith Action of Southwest Michigan and the Council of Baptist Pastors of Detroit.
Monday's announcement featured Oxford survivor Kiley Myrand, whose close friend was lost in the shooting, as well as two mothers who lost their children to gun violence. Sherri Scott is the mother of Francesca Marks, who was killed at a Detroit park while trying to protect her children from random gunfire. She was joined by Mia Reid, the CEO of the Charles W. Reid Community Help Center, named for her son who was killed by gun violence 10 years ago.
“These measures are popular, even among gun owners. We can pass sensible reforms that will save lives and respect gun owners' rights,” said Reid. “It's just common sense. Children shouldn't be able to access dangerous firearms. Most gun owners understand this and are responsible. We just want all gun owners to be responsible.”
Kiley Myrand described her experience locked in a classroom, waiting to throw her textbook at a gunman,“I was really scared, but the community has rallied together. Now we need changes like a safe storage law so that kids can't have access to guns. What happened to my community should never happen to anyone else.”
The organizers announced several actions that supporters can take to advance the cause:
Breakaway Strategic Consulting