Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks to lawmakers inside the Michigan State Capitol . Jake Neher/WDET

On Thursday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed two bills intended to curb gun violence in Michigan by broadening background checks and imposing penalties on individuals who allow minors access to firearms. The signing took place on Michigan State University’s campus, merely two months following a tragic shooting that resulted in three fatalities and five injuries.

At the ceremony, Whitmer stated, “Today we’re taking common sense gun action to reduce violence and save lives,” Whitmer said at the bill signing ceremony. “Gun violence is a scourge that is unique to this country and that’s why we’re taking action. We don’t have to live like this and today we’re showing that we’re not going to.”

Whitmer also said that she wants to pass red flag laws in hers state and urged lawmakers to start the process. “All of these initiatives are supported by a majority of Michiganders,” she said.

The first of the two bills addresses mandatory safe storage rules, requiring gun owners to safely store firearms in a container or with a lock that cannot be easily broken. The bill aims to prevent unauthorized access to firearms, which can lead to accidents, suicides, or intentional harm. The second bill mandates universal background checks, requiring that all gun buyers undergo a background check, even in private sales or transfers.

These legislative efforts come in the wake of a mass shooting that occurred earlier this year in East Lansing, which has brought the issue of gun safety to the forefront of Michigan politics. The day before the signing, students from Michigan State University held a walkout to keep the focus on gun safety laws.

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