Michigan News Connection - Lily Bohlke

A new coalition is urging the Michigan Legislature to tackle the epidemic of gun violence.

Michigan ranks 21st for overall gun homicides, though that number is far greater when race is factored in – the state ranks 9th for gun homicides of Black residents. Despite polls showing what's known as commonsense gun legislation is popular, advocates say the Legislature has not advanced measures such as red-flag laws and safe gun-storage laws.

The new coalition, called End Gun Violence Michigan, says if the Legislature doesn't act in the next year, it will launch an initiative campaign to put gun-control laws on the ballot. This past Valentine's Day, Monday, marked four years since the Parkland school shooting in Florida that left 14 students and 3 educators dead.

Kiley Myrand, pictured, is a student at Oxford High School. She survived last November's shooting that took four lives, including one of her close friends - 16-year-old Tate Myre.

Myrand said "Tate was going to be one of my forever friends, with his goofy and dedicated personality, and our time together ended far too soon. This is why I'm talking to you all today, saying – as a survivor and as a mourning 16-year-old girl – that something needs to change now."

Mia Reid founded the Charles W. Reid Community Help Center in Detroit, named after her son, who was killed by gun violence in 2011. She says there's no time to waste and commented "There are lots of other great ideas that can also reduce gun violence, too – like increasing mental health funding, returning citizen reentry programs, violence intervention, and so much more. And we support all of these."

A report from the Center for American Progress finds gun suicides also are on the rise in Michigan, especially among young people and veterans. It further showed that non-fatal gun injuries, as well as stolen firearms, continue to be issues in the state.

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