LANSING, Mich. — The shooting that left four Oxford high schoolers dead has put new light on gun laws in Michigan, and a group of students plan to bring even more attention to them with a rally at the Capitol, calling on state lawmakers to take action and pass stricter gun-storage laws.
“The Oxford High School shooting happened on November 30, and although we've been organizing for so many years, it was another wake-up call, especially for Michiganders,” one that requires action, according to Zoey Rector-Brooks, a University of Michigan student and organizer with March For Our Lives.
The organization was co-founded by Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg, who spoke with FOX 17 just days after the four-year anniversary marking the tragedy.
“The fact of the matter is, many politicians are not prioritizing the things that really matter. We've seen a lot of legislatures around the country talk about banning books, banning masks in schools and stuff. But the reality is, it wasn't a mask or a book that killed 17 of my classmates and teachers. It was a gunman with an AR-15, who was able to legally obtain it,” Hogg said.
The group plans on rallying at the Capitol in Lansing Wednesday, Feb. 23 to call on lawmakers to pass safe gun-storage legislation and increase mental health resources in schools.
“We've been shouting for so long, trying to get people to hear us, but finally they're starting to again, especially in Michigan,” Rector-Brooks added.
On Tuesday, Democratic state lawmakers reintroduced a series of gun bills, including a safe-storage measure that has sat stagnant in Michigan’s Republican-led Legislature.
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“This legislation could have helped to prevent exactly the type of tragedy seen at Oxford High School. A safely stored firearm would have never made it into a child’s hands,” said State Rep. Mari Manoogian (D–Birmingham), who originally introduced the bill last summer.
In light of the tragedy in Oxford, Hogg says it's long past due for changes to be made, no matter who holds the legislative power.
“In the wake of everything that happened in Parkland, we went out there and students showed up and we didn't talk about voting for Democrats or Republicans. We talked about politicians getting over politics and doing the right thing,” Hogg said.
“It isn't ridiculous things that we're asking for. It's things like safe storage, things that most responsible gun owners like my father, and many family members of mine, support already. It's just a matter of putting into the law to help avoid horrible things from happening in the first place along with mental health funding,” Hogg added.
The rally will take place Wednesday morning, and the group says they plan on meeting with legislators and Governor Whitmer that day.