LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The big sister of a teen killed in the rampage at Oxford High School urged Michigan lawmakers Tuesday to pass legislation mandating safe storage of guns, calling it a commonsense way to prevent future shootings.
Reina St. Juliana, a junior at the school, noted the mass attack followed many in other states over the years. Four students — Hana St. Juliana, Justin Shilling, Madisyn Baldwin and Tate Myre — were killed, and six other students and a teacher were wounded.
"Why are we not trying hard to stop it? The system that allows the shooter access to a firearms is the same system that failed Justin, Madisyn, Hana and Tate. There is no reason, no excuse for all of them not to be here and have their futures taken away," St. Juliana said in a news conference at the state Capitol, where she was joined by state Attorney General Dana Nessel, Democratic legislators and gun-safety advocates.
In June, five months before the slayings, Democrats introduced bills aimed at holding accountable adults who fail to secure their firearms.
The 15-year-old charged in the attack 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Detroit, Ethan Crumbley, illegally had a handgun his father bought days earlier. The parents, who face involuntary manslaughter charges, are accused of making the gun accessible to Ethan and failing to intervene when he showed signs of mental distress at home and at school.
The legislation would require adults to keep a firearm in a securely locked container if they know it is accessible to minors. If a minor obtained the gun and used it to kill or injure, the adult would face up to five years in prison.
There would be exceptions if minors have permission for activities like target practice and hunting.
Gun-safety devices like safes, lock boxes and trigger locks would be exempt from Michigan's sales tax.
Republicans who control the Legislature have not held a hearing on the bills.
"I have difficulty understanding why it has not been passed and implemented. It could have saved my sister," St. Juliana said. "I could have spent my Christmas with Hana. I could have begun 2022 with my favorite person by my side. And we could have had our family dinners without an open missing seat at the dining table."
A message-seeking comment was left with Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey. He has said there is a balance between eliminating all risks without also removing people's freedoms. He suggested signs were missed about the shooter.
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