A new bill that plans to ban “assault rifle” sales and possession in Michigan has been a highly contested idea thrown around the Michigan State House since Democrats began pushing forward on the measure recently.
Now some believe that the bill will go nowhere, while a supporter says it’s part of a needed conversation about gun control in the wake of tragedies like the June Orlando nightclub shooting, where a gunman used an AR-15 rifle to kill 49 people.
Senator Ken Horn has come out vocally, saying that he’s been approached by people in his community with concerns and questions about the bill, and he tells them he believes it’s dead on arrival.
“It’s just so flawed,” Horn said about the package of bills. “It would take honest law-abiding citizens and turn them automatically into criminals,” he said. “It does nothing directly to stop the criminal element.”
Despite his disdain for the bill package and its timing, just weeks before the Nov. 8 election, Horn said it doesn’t mean any conversations about legislation involving guns is off the table.
“If someone wants to start a reasonable conversation outside of the normal election cycle, I think most people would be willing to listen,” he said.
The “Assault Rifle” Ban Bill’s sponsor Robert Wittenberg, D-Oak Park, said the package would restore common sense to firearms laws “and protect millions of Michiganders from gun violence.”
Introduced in the House Wednesday, Oct. 19, the legislation would ban assault weapons, defined as a semiautomatic pistol or semiautomatic or pump-action rifle capable of accepting a detachable magazine, that has at least one feature including a pistol grip behind the trigger on a rifle, a shoulder stock on a pistol, a barrel shroud, a muzzle brake or compensator, or a protruding grip not held by the trigger hand.
The definition also includes a pistol capable of accepting a detachable magazine in a location outside of the pistol grip, a semiautomatic pistol or “center-fire rifle” with a fixed magazine that can carry more than 10 rounds of ammunition, and a shotgun with a revolving cylinder.
The bill would allow gun owners to continue owning assault weapons under certain restrictions, including allowing the Michigan State Police to do an annual inspection of the storage premises.
A violation would be punishable by 4 years in prison, a $2,100 fine, or both.
About the current bill package, Horn said sponsors should have asked how law-abiding gun owners feel about the issues first. He said he sees nothing redeeming in the package.
“Every responsible gun owner is under assault by this particular bill,” Horn said.