MI plans to pass a red flag bill that would remove

Harris Marley
Harris Marley

Global Courant 2023-05-08 16:41:25

Karen Kobylik knew her daughter shouldn’t have a gun. Since her daughter turned 21, she had repeatedly called the police and begged them to take her firearms because of the risk she posed to herself and others.

“They said we can’t take guns from her because we can’t step on her second amendment,” Kobylik told The Associated Press. “I was like, ‘I’m a mom telling you this kid has a mental problem that isn’t being addressed right now.'”

Kobylik’s daughter, Ruby Taverner, shot and killed her brother and boyfriend before committing suicide in the early morning of May 8 last year. Kobylik believes all three lives could have been saved had red flag laws, known as extreme risk protection orders, existed in Michigan that would have allowed police to remove her daughter’s guns and keep her from it. stop buying more guns.

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Now Michigan is poised to become the 20th state — and the first in nearly three years — to pass a red flag law. It would allow family members, police, mental health professionals, roommates and former dating partners to petition a judge to remove firearms from those they believe pose an imminent threat to themselves or others.


Kobylik said her daughter had been treated for mental health issues, including depression, since she was seven, but had stopped taking her medication by age 18. hospital because she threatened to commit suicide, Kobylik said.

Taverner and her brother, Bishop, were both 22. Her boyfriend, Ray Muscat, was 24.

The red flag measure is being pushed back at the local level in a state where the gun ownership culture runs deep. More than half of the state’s counties have passed resolutions declaring themselves “sanctuaries” of the Second Amendment, in violation of laws they say infringe on gun rights. Some sheriffs have said they will struggle to enforce anything they believe is unconstitutional.

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“Ultimately, the highest responsibility for a sheriff is to uphold the Constitution,” said Van Buren County Sheriff Daniel Abbott.

The US has a record rate for mass shootings so far this year.

Karen Kobylik and her husband, Michael Kobylik, will hold funeral programs for Karen’s children Ruby and Bishop Taverner in Pontiac, Michigan on May 1, 2023. Ruby shot and killed her boyfriend and brother before committing suicide hours later on May 8, 2022. Kobylik pleaded with the police several times to take her daughter’s firearm because she had psychological problems. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

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Touted as the most powerful tool for stopping gun violence before it happens, an Associated Press analysis in September found that red flag laws are barely used in the 19 states and the District of Columbia where they exist. Firearms were taken from people 15,049 times since 2020, less than 10 per 100,000 adult residents, according to the analysis.

It will be the first time since New Mexico in 2020 that a state has passed a red flag law, but similar legislation is being considered elsewhere as lawmakers look for solutions.

The Minnesota House introduced a comprehensive public safety bill last month that includes a red flag bill. It remains uncertain whether the provision will make it to the conference committee.


After a March school shooting in Nashville that left six people dead, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee is calling lawmakers back together after fellow Republicans rejected his proposal for “temporary mental health protection” at the end of the legislative session they closed in April .

The Biden administration has sought to promote wider use of national red flag laws and recently approved more than $200 million to help states and the District of Columbia administer those laws and similar programs.

Red flag legislation introduced after a shooting at Michigan State University that killed three students and injured five others was approved by Michigan’s Democratic legislature last month and is expected to be enacted in the coming weeks. signed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer. It would take effect next year at the earliest.

A judge would have 24 hours to decide on a temporary protection order for extreme risks after a request has been made. If granted, the judge would have 14 days to arrange a hearing in which the marked person would have to prove that they pose no significant risk. A standard order would take a year.

Lying to a court when applying for a protection order would be a felony punishable by up to 93 days in jail and a $500 fine.

Livingston County Sheriff Michael Murphy has already said he will not enforce the protection orders because he said they lack due process and are “ripe for abuse”. With 72 of Michigan’s 83 counties voting Republican in the last presidential election, many sheriffs will have to choose between following the law or appeasing voters.

Local officials “have discretion over what laws they will enforce with their office resources,” Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a statement to the AP. She added that arguments against the orders are “based not on the law, but on the personal whims of what they want to support.”

In Marquette County in the Upper Peninsula, Sheriff Greg Zyburt said that while he disagrees with everything in the legislation, he “doesn’t choose which laws he enforces.”

“It’s not my place,” Zyburt said. “That’s why we have different branches of government.”


In Colorado, 37 counties that consider themselves “sanctuaries” have issued just 45 surrender orders in the two years through 2021, one-fifth fewer per resident than non-sanctuaries. New Mexico and Nevada reported only about 20 orders combined.

The laws continued to receive widespread public support, despite the lack of usage. An AP-NORC poll in late July found that 78% of American adults strongly or somewhat support red flag laws.

Kobylik is a gun owner who considers himself conservative. She spoke out in favor of the red flag bill at a Michigan Senate committee hearing in March.

“I’m not here to excuse Ruby’s actions,” she said. ‘Far from it. What I’m here to tell you is that this should never have happened.’

MI plans to pass a red flag bill that would remove

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