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Domestic violence offenders in Michigan will lose gun ownership rights for years

Beth LeBlanc, The Detroit News on

Published in News & Features

DETROIT — Michigan law will bar domestic violence offenders from owning or possessing a firearm for eight years after they complete their sentence under legislation signed Monday by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

The bills, spearheaded by state Sen. Stephanie Chang, D-Detroit, largely mirrors federal prohibitions on gun ownership after a domestic violence misdemeanor or other misdemeanors. But the existence of the ban in Michigan law makes it possible for state and local law enforcement officials to enforce it.

“We need to give our state level prosecutors and law enforcement the tools to enforce this kind of prohibition,” Chang said in a hearing earlier this fall.

“Survivors of domestic violence endure unimaginable pain and betrayal and it is our responsibility to ensure that they have the peace of mind knowing that they’ll be protected from threats of gun violence at the hands of their abusers,” she added.

Michigan would join more than 30 states that have adopted such a state-level restriction, Chang said.

The ban on domestic violence offenders owning or possessing a firearm is expected to go into effect in late February.


Whitmer signed the bills Monday at a YWCA in Kalamazoo that runs a shelter and services for domestic violence survivors.

"These bills are based on a simple idea: If you've been found guilty in court for violently assaulting your partner, you should not be able to access a deadly weapon that could be used to threaten, harm of kill them," Whitmer said Monday.

"It's just common sense," the governor added.

The bills, which included sponsors Sen. Sue Shink, D-Northfield Township, and Rep. Amos O'Neal, D-Saginaw, passed largely along party lines in the Democratic-controlled Legislature. The bills have been introduced in the past three legislative sessions, failing to gain traction under Republican control of the House and Senate.


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