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Governor Whitmer signs gun control legislation to protect domestic violence survivors

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The new laws aim to keep firearms out of the hands of perpetrators of domestic violence.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer traveled to Kalamazoo Monday to sign gun control legislation that aims to protect domestic abuse victims. The laws will forbid those convicted of domestic abuse from buying or owning a gun for eight years after finishing their sentence.

Whitmer said nearly half of women who are murdered in the U.S. are killed by a partner or former partner. She also described gun violence as a “uniquely American problem.”

"We do not have to live like this," she said. "We're making a choice and we're choosing today to keep people safe."

The bill-signing took place at the Kalamazoo YWCA, which provides counseling and advocacy for domestic violence survivors. Whitmer said the laws are commonsensical.

"These bills are based on a simple idea," she said. "If you have been found guilty in court, for violently assaulting your partner, you should not be able to access a deadly weapon that you could use to further threaten, harm or kill them."

Rick Omilian of the gun safety group Moms Demand Action spoke at the signing. His stepdaughter, Maggie Wardle, was murdered by her former partner in her dorm room at Kalamazoo College in 1999.

"We know that if somehow Maggie had gotten out of that room that night, she would have had the chance to use a law like this one today to be protected from her abuser," he said.

This legislation follows several other gun control measures passed earlier this year in Michigan. Those include universal background checks, red flag laws, and safe storage requirements.