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One Year Later, Lawmakers Slow to Respond to Oxford Shooting

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The Oxford High School shooting isn’t the first event that forced a call to action from the public, but it was the closest to home. Lawmakers have spent the past year calling for some sort of solutions with little action.

That may soon be changing.

“We have a lot of work to do in this space,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer two weeks after the shooting, “This is a uniquely American problem.”

It was a common refrain immediately following the Oxford shooting, from the top down.

“We’re never going to get rid of all the guns in this country, but what can we do to improve the odds that our kids are safe when they’re in school,” said Whitmer. “They should not be scanning to look for the quickest exit. They should be able to focus on their studies. That’s what they’re there for.”

On the other side of the aisle, they were less assertive but voiced an interest.

“If there are changes that need to be made, we are looking at those options,” said Speaker Jason Wentworth, the day after the shooting. “We are keeping an open mind to whatever ideas or suggestions that will help curb this kind of thing from happening again in the future.”

Twelve months later, what has been done?

“We haven’t been able to get any of our legislation or regulation put in place,” said Sen. Rosemary Bayer, the chair of the Gun Safety Caucus. Oxford is in her district.

While bills have not been passed to control firearms at all, there were some steps taken.

“We added $50 million to schools for SROs, police officers in schools,” said Rep. John Damoose of Harbor Springs. “I don’t know if that goes far enough or not, but we’re willing to do stuff.”

“Yeah of course they are trying to avoid the actual issue, right?” said Bayer. “It’s a big fat band-aid.”

This, of course, has been with Republicans in control.

In January, the Democrats take power, and it looks like gun control will be at the top of their list.

They are targeting “red flag” laws to heighten warning signs, “safe storage” bills to make it harder for children to access guns and universal background checks.

“Those are the kind of things that we are going to do right away,” said Bayer. “I know that the governor has mentioned this as well.”