Rep. Dingell urges Snyder to veto gun bill

David Shepardson
Detroit News Washington Bureau

U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell on Tuesday urged Gov. Rick Snyder to veto a bill that would allow some domestic abusers to obtain concealed weapons permits.

Debbie Dingell speaks to supporters after she wins the 12th U.S. House seat Tuesday evening.

The Dearborn Democrat raised her personal history in urging the second-term Republican governor to veto a bill backed by the National Rifle Association.

"As someone who lived for years in an environment that could erupt violently at any point, I recognize provisions in this legislation as a serious threat to protecting Michigan women, children and communities, and quite frankly even men," Dingell wrote.

"Emotions in volatile and mentally unstable situations are unpredictable and far too often have disastrous outcomes. I will not forget the nights of shouting. The fear. The dread that my brother, my sisters and my parents would die. I will not forget locking ourselves in closets or hiding places hoping we wouldn't be found. Calling for help, but finding no one willing to help, to acknowledge the problem, or intervene."

She said the bill is "a formula for disaster that would endanger too many people in our communities. We must demonstrate zero tolerance for bullying or abuse; respect and implement processes that protect individual liberties, but use common sense to eliminate potential violence."

The National Rifle Association noted the bill was approved by large margins and urged Snyder to sign it. The bill allows people with restraining orders to get licenses if the judge who issued order doesn't explicitly ban the licenses.

"This week, numerous media outlets and other organizations have attacked SB 789 based on a mistaken belief that the bill requires that concealed pistol licenses be issued to persons subject to personal protection orders for domestic violence or stalking," the NRA said.

"... If an individual is a domestic abuser and has been charged or convicted as such, or a judge has made a determination that the individual should not be allowed to purchase or possess a firearm, that person will be prohibited from receiving a concealed pistol license under SB 789."

The legislation sponsored by Sen. Mike Green, R-Mayville, was approved during an all-night session of the Legislature in December that passed a road repair funding compromise package. Green voted to put the road funding measure on the statewide ballot in the early morning of Dec. 19 after the House approved his gun bill.

Former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords, D-Arizona, who was seriously wounded by a gunman, also called on Snyder to veto the bill.

Giffords said "individuals subject to restraining orders in Michigan" could "legally carry a concealed weapon in 39 other states due to reciprocity agreements. Under current Michigan law, all individuals subject to domestic violence and stalking protection orders are prohibited from receiving a concealed carry license."

From 2003 to 2012, 53.5 percent of female domestic violence victims in Michigan were killed with guns, Giffords said in a letter to Snyder.

"Gun violence against women is an American epidemic. ... Between 2001 and 2012 alone, 6,410 women were murdered throughout the country by an intimate partner with a gun," said Giffords, co-founder of Americans for Responsible Solutions.