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LANSING, Mich. — State House and Senate Democrats announced legislation Thursday that would restrict the sale and possession of ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, saying such a law would save lives in mass shootings such as the recent tragedy at Oxford High School in Oakland County.
"Thoughts and prayers don't go far enough," said Sen. Rosemary Bayer, D-Beverly Hills, whose district includes the high school and who chairs the Firearm Safety and Violence Prevention Caucus.
The Democratic lawmakers noted GOP lawmakers in Michigan have generally opposed any new gun control measures and the bills face an uphill battle.
"Can we please have a change of heart?" asked Rep. Brenda Carter, D-Pontiac, who has lost family members to gun violence. "Can we work together to stop this before we have another tragedy?"
The bills would prohibit the sale or possession of magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition, starting Jan. 1, 2023. Those who already possess such magazines could keep them, provided they report them to law enforcement. First-time violations would be a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a fine of $500. Police, the military, and employees of armored car services would be exempted.
The suspect in the Oxford shootings, Ethan Crumbley, carried a semiautomatic pistol with 15-round magazines and fired at least 30 rounds, according to the sheriff's office.
The 15-year-old is charged as an adult with four counts of first-degree murder, seven counts of assault with intent to murder, one count of terrorism causing death, and 12 counts of possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
Gideon D'Assandro, a spokesman for House Speaker Jason Wentworth, R-Farwell, said Wentworth is "still looking into the issue and learning more about what went wrong."
"He is always willing to look at anyone's suggestions and ideas for how to make schools safer, but he's focused on gathering information as more continues to come out each day."
Bayer said the bills are not solely about school safety, as such tragedies can and do happen anywhere. She said legislative Democrats had been working on the gun magazine legislation long before the Oxford school shooting and had planned to introduce it Thursday in any case.
Sean Holihan, state legislative director at the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, joined the news conference at the state Capitol in Lansing to show support for the legislation.
Holihan noted that when U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords, who founded the center, was shot in Tucson, Arizona, in 2011, her attacker was tackled by a bystander while pausing to reload.
"The bills being introduced today will help reduce gun violence in the state and protect Michigan families," Holihan said.
Democrats highlighted other gun safety measures they have introduced that have not been passed by the GOP-controlled Legislature. They include bills related to safe gun storage, universal background checks, restoring local control, and increasing restrictions on gun possession for people convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence.
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