Work collaboratively to save lives while retaining the right to own a firearm.
As a parent, Rochester Community Schools Board Trustee, and citizen of Greater Rochester, I recognize I live in one of our state and country's safest areas. However, gun violence can happen anywhere.
I strongly believe in investing in our public safety and supporting our police. We must partner our police with social workers and addiction counselors, so when people call 911, they can get the relevant help they need from professionals qualified to provide it, whether it be a social worker, an addiction specialist, or a mental health specialist. These actions will ensure our officers are not doing a job they are untrained for, and their efforts do not have an unnecessary or tragic altercation.
As a society, we must ask ourselves: how do we want our public spaces to look? What do we want our collective community to become? Public shootings in schools, places of worship, and entertainment venues, as well as the proliferation of accidental or suicide by a firearm, make it abundantly clear that we can and must work toward sensible solutions to protect our families, our children, and our communities.
Let's pass common-sense gun legislation that will disarm domestic abusers, maintain permit requirements, and close gun sale loopholes, all while upholding our Second Amendment rights. No community is immune from gun deaths. One way or another, we are all impacted (directly or indirectly) by suicide, accidental shootings, cases of
domestic abuse, or murder with a gun.
Common Sense Gun Legislation
At a state level: repeal any state overreach to ensure that local units of government can hold voluntary gun buybacks to help reduce violence by removing weapons from homes that pose a threat to children, vulnerable individuals, or theft.
At a federal level. Work with our Congressional Representatives and Senators to pass Universal Background Checks that will close the gaping holes in our background check system. Bipartisan legislation is written and supported by Mayors throughout our country, including Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett.
Let’s pass legislation that can help our state agencies understand and inform policy and programs around the issue of gun violence and suicide prevention within Michigan. The availability of factual data will allow Michigan to learn from past tragedies and aid in preventingfuture deaths.
Let’s protect those who are most vulnerable. A partner in domestic violence situations (women are five times more likely to die when a firearm is present), those who are in the process of getting divorced, or those estranged from their partner or spouse. Someone with a known history of abuse or domestic violence should not have access to a gun.
Let’s work to pass legislation that will prohibit guns on Michigan’s State Capitol grounds, including within the Capitol building. Each year, 115,000 visitors (including children and families) tour the Capitol and we need to ensure their safety as well as those that are employees there, too.
Let’s keep our schools safe and secure without turning them into armed fortresses. The goal in any building improvement plan should allow only armed and approved security personnel or law enforcement in the school. Doing so, will help differentiate the roles between teachers and trained (armed) staff.
Accidental shootings and suicides total 59% of all gun deaths in MIchigan.
2013 fatal firearm injuries of children and teens has risen unabated. Let’s protect children in homes where a gun is present: promote and enact gun storage laws to help reduce the likelihood of accidental shootings.
Enact Extreme Risk Protection or “Red Flag” Laws
Let’s work to pass “red flag” laws — supported by current Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard — that authorize courts, when alerted by friends or family, to remove firearms from an individual if they pose a significant risk to themselves or others (reasonable cause). Firearm removal safeguards must also ensure there is no opportunity for abuse or false accusations and include due process protections for the individual who may (temporarily or permanently) lose their right to a firearm.
Mental Health Funding
Let’s allocate resources toward preventing gun violence, by having the appropriate ratio of school counselors, social workers and resource officers available to schools. A whole child approach is paramount in education and should include a child’s social and emotional health as well as their cognitive abilities.
Support local education professionals by providing clinicians in every school building, so school mental health professionals take the lead in addressing a child's mental wellness. By doing so, we can identify and assist troubled students sooner, not later.
In our communities:
Let’s end the stigma of mental health and illness through community based programs and partnerships between local municipalities, schools, religious communities, social service agencies, and healthcare. Encourage mental health conversations and seek mental health services as a regular part of overall wellness.
Increase access for those that seek mental health services, with or without health insurance by decreasing barriers to behavioral health care access; shortages of providers, cost of card, and reluctance to seek care.