LANSING, Mich. — Nearly 150 members of End Gun Violence Michigan gathered in a church near the Capitol on Wednesday to urge legislators to pass gun violence prevention measures.
They say if legislators won’t do the work, the group will go around them with a ballot initiative.
"I am part of a post-Columbine generation, a generation where school shootings are so normal we practice for that," said Jayanti Gupta a Michigan high school student and organizer with March for Our Lives. "Well, we're instructed to use our desks as shields and to barricade doors. We are using the very textbooks and pencils that should be teaching us the joys of learning as weapons of self preservation."
Democrats in the Michigan legislature have introduced bills to mandate gun locks and safe storage, as well as red flag laws that would allow a family member, friend, or member of the community to petition their local court to temporarily remove someone's firearms or prevent them from purchasing one, but so far there isn't much traction.
"I lost my only child. To the trauma of guns," said state. Rep. Brenda Carter, D-Pontiac. "That is why I am here. That is why I want sensible gun violence reform. Here in Lansing. Sensible reforms such as background checks, have been stalled for years. It really does feel like an uphill battle."
The group announced Wednesday that they are exploring the steps it would take to get around lawmakers who they say, aren't doing enough.
"Legislators, do the job we are paying you to do," said Zoey Rector-Brooks, an organizer with End Gun Violence. "We are here to demand the legislature take action to pass gun violence prevention legislation that will save lives while respecting the rights of gun owners. We are here to protect Michigan families."
To get on the 2024 ballot and let the voters decide, the group would need to gather hundreds of thousands of signatures.