Governor Whitmer signs red flag gun bill into law


Photo courtesy of Governor Gretchen Whitner via Facebook.

On May 22, 2023, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation to implement a red flag law to keep firearms away from those with the potential to harm themselves or others. 

Expected to go into effect next spring, Senate Bill 83 will allow law enforcement, healthcare providers, family members and others to file an “extreme risk protection order” with the circuit court to temporarily seize firearms from those who are a danger to themselves or others.

Whitmer also signed three House Bills as a part of the red flag package. Bill 4146 prohibits those subject to an “extreme risk protection order” from purchasing firearms. Bill 4147 waives court fees for those wanting to implement an order. Bill 4148 deems it a crime to make a falsified order. 

“It’s a sign that we are taking very seriously the opportunity to make improvements in Michigan law that will hopefully keep people safer,” Whitmer said in an interview with WXYZ-TV. 

The red flag law comes after the recent mass shootings at Oxford High School and Michigan State University, which resulted in the deaths of seven students in total. 

“I think we’re seeing — day in day out, the toll of gun violence playing out in this country,” Whitmer said. “It’s hit very close to home for many of us. From Oxford to Michigan State, to gun violence that plays out every day.”

Michigan is the 21st state to implement a red flag law. The new legislation follows the April 2023 bills signed into law by Whitmer, which mandated universal background checks and safe storage requirements for all firearms. 

“This isn’t a Republican or Democratic issue,” Whitmer said. “This is about all of our safety. This is about every parent who’s worried when they drop their child off at school and wants to know that they’re going to be able to pick them up at the end of the school day.”

Gun violence survivor, gun control advocate and former Arizona congresswoman Gabby Giffords was present at the bill signing ceremony. Giffords believes Whitmer has shown her commitment to saving lives by passing this legislation.

“Michigan has faced far too many tragedies because of gun violence,” Giffords said in a press release. “By signing ‘extreme risk protection orders’ into law today, Governor Whitmer took an important step toward reducing the everyday shootings that are damaging communities.”

With the introduction of the red flag law, Whitmer believes Michigan is better equipped to prevent mass shootings.

“We’ve heard too many times how those who knew a mass shooter expressed concern in advance,” Whitmer said in a tweet. “With ‘extreme risk protection orders,’ we have a mechanism to step in and save lives.”