LANSING, Mich. — The tragic shooting at Oxford High School Tuesday, which killed four students and left seven others injured, is putting new light on gun laws in Michigan and sparking debate over potential changes.
“If the incident yesterday with four children being murdered and multiple kids being injured isn’t enough to revisit our gun laws, I don’t know what is,” said Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald after announcing the charges the alleged 15-year-old gunman is now facing.
“We have to do better. How many times does this have to happen? How many times?” McDonald questioned.
Roughly 80 miles west of the high school where those students were gunned down, lawmakers at the Capitol in Lansing held a moment of silence for the victims.
An emotional state Sen. Rosemary Bayer (D–Beverly Hills) spoke about the village she represents, now marred by tragedy.
“I lived down the street from that school. I know the people in that town. That tiny little village, such a beautiful place, you just never know. You never expect tragedy; you just never know. Just a horrible, senseless attack on children by children,” Bayer said during a speech on the Senate floor.
"I keep thinking about this as a mom, and the first thing that hit me was, 'What if it was my daughter? What if I lost my daughter?' Or, 'What if I had to send her back?' I don't know how people do this. I hurt, physically hurt, everywhere right now," Bayer added.
In an interview with FOX 17 Wednesday night, Bayer said her immediate focus is on helping the Oxford community in any way they need. Over the past 24 hours, she and her office have reached out to families, while helping to secure mental health resources for students throughout the district.
“I'm trying to imagine myself as that parent that I'm talking to and think, 'Would I want to hear a bunch of legislators start arguing about legislation right now?' No, I would not. I don’t care about any of that. I don't care about any of that. 'You need to help me get through this and help me take care of my kids,'” Bayer added.
As chair of the Firearm Safety and Violence Prevention Caucus, Bayer has introduced and sponsored several gun-reform bills over the past year that have stalled in the GOP-led Michigan Legislature. Those bills include a push for universal background checks and enhanced penalties for improper gun storage, to prevent kids from getting access to firearms.
She says the time for action on those and more will come soon.
“We need to take action, and we're not going to wait very long,” Bayer said. “We do want to make sure that we're taking care of the community, and that we are putting the resources in there that we need to do that; we're very focused on that and those parents and those kids,” she added.
“Very quickly, we’ll have new bills, new ideas, more new things that we're going to try to pull and change the script in the Legislature in Lansing."
State Republican leaders meanwhile appear to be more hesitant to change. Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey told Bridge Magazine Wednesday, "If we get obsessed with eliminating all risks, we will then develop and evolve into a country we won't recognize, because we'll also have no freedoms."
"It's a balance. It's a very narrow road, and it's hard. And so these kinds of events keeps that thing keep those thoughts in mind," Shirkey reportedly added.
Shirkey: "It's a balance. It's a very narrow road, and it's hard. And so these kinds of events keeps that thing keep those thoughts in mind."— Sergio Martínez-Beltrán (@SergioMarBel) December 1, 2021
Shirkey also suggested there might've been some warning signs, "and then you have to ask the question about access to the firearm."
On Wednesday, State Rep. Steve Carra (R–Three Rivers), a Trump-endorsed U.S. House candidate, said he’s drafting legislation to allow schools to have lockboxes for teachers to store guns and tasers “in case of an attack.”