Dearborn Mayor Jack O'Reilly is joining a coalition of other Michigan mayors in voicing opposition to a bill that would eliminate the requirement of background checks in handgun sales by private parties.
Currently, background checks are required for any person looking to purchase a handgun in Michigan, be it from a dealer or a private owner. House Bill 5225, which was passed by the state House of Representatives in June and currently sits before the state Senate, would change that.
According to the Mayors Aggainst Illegal Guns Coalition, that comprises half of all gun sales in Michigan and would make it easier for convicted felons, domestic abusers and others who are banned from gun ownership easier to obtain a handgun, no questions asked.
“This bill would make it easier for convicted criminals and persons with severe mental illness to obtain deadly weapons, and make it more difficult for our police officers to protect themselves and our communities,” the mayors wrote in a letter sent to State Senate leaders and Gov. Rick Snyder this week.
The mayors who signed the opposition letter are all members of the national, bipartisan Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition and collectively represent more than one million Michigan residents. In addition to O'Reilly, they include Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje; Detroit Mayor Dave Bing; Flint Mayor Dayne Walling; Hamtramck Mayor KarenMajewski; Saline Mayor Gretchen Driskell; Southfield Mayor Brenda L. Lawrence; and Ypsilanti Mayor Paul T. Schreiber.
A Senate vote on the bill is expected as soon as next week.