Michigan Gun Safety Package

In the wake of tragedy, young people turned grief into action.

MFOL Michigan State University hosts a vigil after the February 13th, 2023 shooting.

Just over one year apart and one hour’s distance from each other, horrifying shootings at Oxford High School and Michigan State University (MSU) shocked the state of Michigan. Across the two shootings, seven students were killed, 12 injured, and thousands more traumatized. Underscoring this uniquely American epidemic, some of the very same young people and children were also survivors of the Oxford shooting, and even the Sandy Hook shooting, went on to survive their second school shooting at MSU.

Oxford High School

In the wake of tragedy, young people turned grief into action. First, in 2022, March For Our Lives Michigan and Oxford survivors rallied at the Michigan Capitol and met with dozens of state lawmakers to advocate for safe storage and increased school mental health resources. In a tooth-and-nail fight, despite a pro-gun majority in the legislature, we were victorious and secured an unprecedented $250 million in mental health resources for Michigan schools.

Grief into action

Oxford survivors and youth activists flood the Michigan Capital to share their stories and demand legislative change.

Survivors and youth activists stand on the steps of the Michigan Capital with protest signs.
Michigan State University

The following year, following the shooting at MSU, the school’s chapter of March For Our Lives knew students longed for a sense of community after such horror. With 5,000 students, faculty, and community members in the crowd, MFOL MSU hosted a vigil to honor the three students killed. Students held hands, hugged each other, and carried candles, creating a sea of illumination.

The next few weeks were a whirlwind of organizing, protests, and rallies to demand action. Survivors were sick and tired of lawmakers’ excuses. It was far past time to act. With the support of the MFOL team, students hosted multiple protests at the Michigan Capitol. The stories of survivors echoed from the steps of the Capitol to the offices of lawmakers, provoking tears and, finally, legislative change.

With guidance from survivors and a new gun safety majority in the legislature that young people had helped usher in, a package of bills began to take shape. We met with Governor Gretchen Whitmer and testified for the State House and Senate to make our voices clear: we cannot wait for more kids to die before passing proven solutions to gun violence. 

And our voices were heard. The legislature passed the first comprehensive gun safety package in Michigan in forty years, which included safe storage, universal background checks, and extreme risk protection orders. In April, with March For Our Lives activists and survivors by her side, Governor Whitmer signed it into law — and Michigan joined the wave of gun safety enabled by young people and our activism.

Passing laws, saving lives.

March For Our Lives activists gather around Gov. Whitmer as she signs historic gun safety into law.

March For Our Lives activists gather around Gov. Whitmer as she signs historic gun safety into law.

Of course, our work isn’t finished here. Gun violence may be relentless, but our advocacy is, too. The Michigan gun safety package was just the start. Since then, the legislature passed another gun safety bill, preventing domestic abusers from accessing firearms for eight years after sentencing. We work closely with our friends at Progress Michigan to strengthen Michigan’s gun safety laws for a simple reason: we refuse to die waiting while legislators punt the issue. Gun safety is essential, and essential now. We will continue to fight for our lives. And we intend to win.