State representative proposes new shooter alert legislation after Kalamazoo rampage

Posted at 11:11 PM, Mar 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-09 23:11:34-05

LANSING, Mich. — State Representative Brandt Iden of Macomb County is trying to push through legislation he says will make communities across the state more safe in case of mass shootings. Iden's bill is in response to the rampage that left six people dead in Kalamazoo and two others injured nearly three weeks ago.

The house bill was presented Tuesday and aims to create a notification system for dangerous shooting situations, similar to the way Amber Alerts are handled, but there’s still a lot to work out before that can become a reality.

While the gun control debate is heightened after tragedies like the one in Kalamazoo, Iden this is something we can do now while the country discusses guns. Iden said he heard from constituents who asked how they could be alerted when they aren't plugged into their Facebook and Twitter feeds.

Michigan State Police helped Iden craft the legislation.

“This is immediate, and I am hoping to fast track this legislation," Iden said.
I am looking to get a committee hearing as soon as next week. I want to see the governor sign this very soon."

MSP told FOX 17 News the legislation is a good idea, they first want to get everything figured out so alerts work in the best and safest way.

“It’s a need,” said Lt. Chris McIntire from the MSP Rockford Post. "We all want it done tomorrow, but putting a poor product in the form of a law out tomorrow that doesn’t make the community as safe as it could be isn’t as good as waiting a little bit longer to make sure you do it right."

For example, an Amber Alert has certain criteria that needs to be met before it can be issued, and MSP said the same should be done for an active shooter.

“You could have ten people dead, and it may not be as threatening to the community as one person that shot somebody on the loose, so we will have to help them on what they think might be that definition of a 'mass shooting,'” said Lt. McIntire.

Another concern is how to issue an alert without causing public hysteria. Lt. McIntire gave this example: “There’s a mass shooting in the Detroit area, where seven are left dead and more injured, but we now know the person that did it is contained to a remote area north of Detroit in a house nobody is around. Is there a risk? Do you have to put the information out to the public? You don’t want to cry wolf.”

These are the questions MSP will help Rep. Iden answer in the coming months. Iden believes that when these questions are answered, the bill will be passed by both houses fairly easily.

The proposed shooter alerts would be sent to phones, radios, and TVs.