Whitmer establishes new task force to prevent gun violence

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2024-4 on Thursday to establish the Michigan Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. This action builds on last year’s action by the governor and the Michigan Legislature to enact commonsense gun violence prevention laws, including background checks, safe storage requirements, extreme risk protection orders, and stronger penalties for those convicted of domestic abuse.

“Michiganders deserve to feel safe everywhere—whether they’re picking up their kids from school or grocery shopping for the week ahead,” said Governor Whitmer. “That’s why I’m establishing the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, aimed at reducing the rates and instances of gun violence in Michigan. Let’s build on the work we did last year enacting commonsense gun violence prevention laws—background checks, safe storage, extreme risk protection orders, stronger penalties for domestic abusers, and greater investments in mental health and local law enforcement—to keep families safe. I want to thank all of the Michiganders who have been strong advocates for reducing gun violence, including the families of the four Oxford students, for working with us to get this done. Together, we can reduce violence and save lives.”

The executive order establishes the Michigan Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, housed within the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The task force will identify the root causes of gun violence, compile and report relevant data, maximize existing resources, solicit perspectives from diverse stakeholders, and recommend policy to save lives. The group will be comprised of members reflecting a wide range of stakeholders including state department directors, medical experts, law enforcement professionals, tribal representatives, and more.  

The full executive order can be found online.

All applications for appointment to the task force must be received by July 18, 2024, to be considered.  

“Passing gun safety legislation is only step one. The second is making sure these lifesaving policies are effectively implemented to help make all Michigan communities safe from gun violence,” said Chelsea Parsons, senior director of implementation at Everytown for Gun Safety. The Governor’s Gun Violence Prevention Task Force is a critical tool to help ensure that gun violence prevention laws are implemented effectively and we stand ready to support its important work.”

“Last year, we passed a policy to disarm domestic abusers — a policy that could have saved our daughter’s life. We know it’s of paramount importance to not only pass gun violence prevention policies, but to also have them properly implemented,” said Rick and Martha Omilian, volunteer leaders with the Michigan chapter of Moms Demand Action and Everytown Survivor Fellows. “The importance of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force truly cannot be understated, especially for survivors and loved ones of victims of gun violence. Today, we continue to move forward knowing our Governor is in our corner, fighting to make sure communities are protected from gun violence across our state.”   

“The new task force continues Governor Whitmer’s unwavering commitment to the issue of gun violence,” said Ryan Bates, Executive Director of End Gun Violence Michigan. “This effort will ensure that every part of our government is focused on our shared goal of saving the lives of children and families. By working together, we can end gun violence.”  

 “Governor Whitmer’s administration has emerged as a beacon of defiance against the relentless scourge of gun violence,” said Alia Harvey-Quinn, Founder and Executive Director of FORCE Detroit. “FORCE Detroit stands with the governor, as she fights with us and others to forge a freer, safer Michigan with the creation of a Gun Violence Task Force laser-focused on prevention. Community Violence Intervention (CVI) isn’t just a plan—it’s an evidence-backed solution that cuts through political bipartisanship and saves lives. Backing CVI programs means empowering frontline staff, like our team at FORCE Detroit, who grind day and night to reduce gun violence in Michigan communities.”

In 2023, in response to the Oxford and MSU tragedies, Whitmer and the majority in the Michigan Legislature took action on gun violence, enacting commonsense gun violence prevention laws supported by the majority of Michiganders.

• In April 2023, Whitmer signed legislation establishing universal background checks for all firearm purchases and safe storage requirements for firearms when minors are around. These laws help keep guns out of the hands of convicted criminals and better protect children at home.  

• In May 2023, Whitmer signed legislation which established extreme risk protection orders, so police officers, health care professionals, and family members concerned about someone who may harm themselves or others can seek a court order to temporarily confiscate their firearms.    

• In November 2023, Whitmer signed legislation banning those convicted of domestic violence from buying, owning, or transporting firearms for eight years after sentencing, helping ensure that violent criminals cannot harm others and that survivors of domestic violence are protected from further violence.    

As a former prosecutor, Whitmer says she has prioritized public safety, investing more than $1.5 billion in public safety since taking office. Revenue sharing with local governments is up 29% since she took office, which communities can use to hire, train, and retain first responders.
Last June, the Governor also signed legislation bolstering training for police officers.  

Last year’s state budget included $49.9 million in grants specifically dedicated for local public safety for the first time in our state’s history. It included more than $500 million in funding to further expand access to mental health support services in our schools and communities.

In her 2025 executive budget recommendation, she proposed an additional 2% revenue sharing increase for local governments, funding for community violence intervention services to tackle the root causes of crime, greater investments into mental health, 9-1-1 systems upgrades, reentry programs for returning citizens, and more comprehensive public safety investments.  

The governor also launched Operation Safe Neighborhoods, a statewide crackdown on crime aimed at reducing gun violence by getting illegal guns out of communities and the hands of people who cannot legally be in possession of a gun due to prior criminal history.

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