Michigan Democrats Trying To Dent Gun Violence

The recent tragic shooting at a Christian school in Nashville, which killed three children and three staff members, is a scene all too familiar in the United States.

For my adult life, guns are treasured more than lives in America. As a progressive, I’ll admit that I even shied away from the gun control debate during my time on talk radio back in the 2000’s. After Columbine, the country had very little backbone to fight against the National Rifle Association, and its allies both within the Republican Party and the corporate right wing media.

I became more discouraged and despondent after the Newtown shooting, and how even the deaths of 20 children didn’t move enough people to prevent a similar tragedy in the future. True, the right wing was against anything pressed by President Obama, but it was much deeper than just their hatred for a black president.

It proved that for all of their sanctimony about the preciousness of human life, right-wingers cared more about guns over protecting children. Not only that, they proved how little they actually cared about the rest of us, who simply wanted to live with “liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Usually, when a mass shooting occurs, the far right Republican party calls for more guns. That’s especially true with Republican state parties, including here in Michigan.

Let’s not forget how Michigan Republicans pushed bills erasing the requirement of someone needing a license for a concealed firearm! The current minority leader in the state senate, Republican Aric Nesbitt or Porter Township, introduced such a measure last year when Republicans still held legislative power.

So, after the Oxford shooting, which resulted in the deaths of four students while injuring seven others, the radicalized right-wing state Republican Party’s solution was to make it easier to buy more guns!

In a way, it’s all about “owning the libs” for the right wing. They live for those moments, which is why they have no policy ideas whatsoever.

That doesn’t mean the right-wing will stop blaming everything else other than guns for gun violence.

For example, we’ve learned that the shooter in the Nashville tragedy was female, but who identified as transgender. Naturally, this allowed the right-wing to turn its focus on those who are transgender. The right-wing has spent the past few years demonizing transgender people, drag queens, and anyone else who identifies under the LGBTQ flag. And once news of the shooter became known, it didn’t take a second for right-wingers to turn their ire towards transgender people.

I won’t bother posting some of the vile and vicious words by these people.

While most mass shooters are male, and many are radicalized by right-wing media, the gun rights crowd is wasting no time to amp up its bigotry towards the transgender community. Anytime the right-wing can focus its anger and declare war against a minority in this country, you can bet it’ll do just that.

But the whole point of this gambit is to get us from paying attention to the common denominator in all of these mass shootings: Guns.

Guns are the problem, and guns are what’s killing kids.

Firearms are the number one cause of death for children ages 1-19. Not car accidents.

And firearms account for 20% of all childhood deaths in American. Firearm deaths for other wealthy nations account for just 2% of childhood deaths, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

What’s the prevaling Republican point of view?

Why is he even there?

Oh, right! To protect the gun lobby!

Nothing will change on the federal level, especially bringing back the successful assault weapons ban, as long as the House of Representatives is held by Trumpian Republicans.

But one state party, along with help from smart and insightful activists, finally took power back to fight against the gun lobby.

That’s right! In Michigan, Democrats are fully in-charge of state government for the first time in 40 years!

After hard work by voting activists to end gerrymandering by Republicans and to make voting easier in 2018, combined with a state Democratic Party filled an influx of new and energizing candidates, the state legislature finally turned blue in the 2022 election.

Yes, there were many reasons leading to the blue wave in Michigan last year, including a talented team leading the top of the ticket with Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Attorney General Dana Nessel, and Secretary of State Joseyln Benson. There was also the Supreme Court’s decision to end federal abortion rights, and that opened-up the floodgates of young people to the polls as they voted to keep abortion rights in Michigan.

But another big reason for the blue wave in the state is that voters were tired of allowing the NRA to run the state legislature.

Democrats ran on passing some popular gun safety reforms, and were working on doing just that when the shooting at Michigan State University happened.

Three students were murdered, and others were injured in that shooting. Voters demanded immediate action. But unlike other times where a Republican legislature would ignore those demands, and offer “thoughts and prayers,” Democrats finally had the ability to do something.

The state house and senate are working on and passing bills requiring background checks for all unlicensed guns, and ensuring that all firearms purchases go under a background check. They’ve also passed a red flag law that allows a court to remove firearms from someone deemed a risk to themselves or to others.

On top of that, the state House passed safe storage bills which are being sent to the state Senate. These bills will guard against young people gaining access to their parents’ firearms.

This is significant because according to gun violence prevention group Everytown, there was an 11% decrease in firearm suicide rates for kids 14-17 years old in the 24 states that passed similar safety storage laws.

These bills are inching closer and closer to reaching Governor Whitmer’s desk.

Sensible legislation. No one’s going after guns. The government isn’t coming into your home and taking your lawfully purchased gun. It’s not Nazi Germany.

Yet, that’s what Michigan’s whacko Republican Party pushed a tweet comparing these bills to the Holocaust. And if you were thinking the head of the party, the disgraced Kristina Karamo would walk back the tweet, well, this is the Trumpian Republican Party, which views apologies as weakness.

We shouldn’t be surprised by the Michigan Republicans’ extremism. The entire Republican Party across the country has been taken over by the right-wing Christianist movement, which looks awfully like fascism to me.

Again, Republicans keep hoping you’ll blame books about African American history, LGBTQ history, or let’s face it, American history, in general, rather than blaming gun violence. House Republicans in Washington, D.C. passed a so-called Parents Bill Of Rights, which is similar to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill. They want to ban truth in order to force their own “truth” on others.

In other words, fascism.

It won’t see the light of day in the Democratic Senate, but that still illustrates how little Republicans care about the children they claim to represent. They’d rather fight culture wars than save children from dying.

Michigan Democratic Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib said in a statement:

“Gun violence is the leading cause of death for children and teens in our country. If Republicans really wanted to protect our children, instead of passing legislation to ban books, censor school curriculum, and target trans youth, they would be banning assault weapons and passing gun violence prevention,” 


Republicans care more about banning books about civil rights icon Rosa Parks than about actually saving kids’ lives.

That’s why Michigan Democrats, both on the state and the federal levels, can’t be satisfied with these victories. Yes, the victories are significant, but it’s only a beginning.

It’s time to remain on the offense. Democrats must call-out Republicans for blocking ways to protect America’s children from the #1 cause of child deaths in the country. Point to them, and put the pressure on by telling voters that it’s Republicans who don’t care about keeping your kids safe!

Tell them that Republicans don’t give a damn about child safety! They only give a damn about the gun lobby, and how much money they spend to bribe Republicans.

Now is not the time to stop. We must continue, and in Michigan, we’re off and running.

Are the Democratic bills perfect in Michigan? Will they stop all gun deaths?


As Democratic state representative Kelly Breen of Novi told Gongwer News, “there’s no reason in the world why we can’t at least prospectively going forward try to make a dent in the problem.”

Let’s hope that Democrats make more than just a dent.

In the end, it’s up to all of us to make sure they do.


UPDATE: According to the AP, Nashville police say they are unsure on the shooter’s gender:

Police have given unclear information on Hale’s gender. For hours Monday, police identified the shooter as a woman. Later in the day, the police chief said Hale was transgender. After the news conference, Aaron declined to elaborate on how Hale identified.

In an email Tuesday, police spokesperson Kristin Mumford said Hale “was assigned female at birth. Hale did use male pronouns on a social media profile.” Later Tuesday, at the news conference, Drake referred to Hale with female pronouns.


The reason this is even being discussed is because of how extremely rare it is for a female, or a transgender male, to commit a mass shooting. Most mass shootings are committed by straight males:

Statistic: Number of mass shootings in the United States between 1982 and March 2023, by shooter's gender | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

Let me repeat: the reason the right-wing is attacking all trans people today is to take your eye off the common denominator surrounding gun violence:


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