LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Thomas Albert said Thursday that Michigan must get tougher with criminals who violate the state’s current gun laws before considering additional changes that would not effectively reduce violence.
“I would hope everyone realizes Michigan must do more to keep our communities safer,” said Albert, R-Lowell. “I have kids of my own and I want to protect them — and everyone else’s kids — from violent crime. The essential starting point is better enforcement of the laws we already have by getting tougher on people who commit gun-related crimes. What good would it do to pass new laws if they are not enforced?”
While the Democrat-led Michigan Senate was approving new gun legislation this week, Albert fought for a plan of his own that would give county prosecutors more resources to enforce current law and keep guns away from criminals. Albert introduced Senate Bill 181 — providing $51 million to reopen a recently closed Ionia prison and pay for counties across the state to send those charged with gun-related crimes there. The state would pay for incarcerating the defendants until their cases are resolved. Albert said his plan would allow prosecutors to stop offering plea deals that keep criminals on the streets by reducing sentences.
Democrats rejected Albert’s proposal — and an additional Republican proposal that would have provided more resources to improve security at school and university buildings, and helped prosecutors better enforce current gun laws. The Senate instead approved new requirements related to “red flag” laws, expanded background checks and weapon storage requirements. Albert voted against the Democratic bills.
“Changes to the system should target criminals — not law-abiding citizens,” Albert said. “I do not think it is helpful to pass legislation that might sound good on the surface but does not actually solve the problem of gun-related crime in our state. I will remain focused on real solutions to improve safety for my family and your family.”