Skip to content

New Here?

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer Named 2023 State Level Gun Sense Lawmaker of Year at Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund’s Gun Sense University

August 12, 2023

Gun Sense Lawmaker of the Year Awarded to Governor Whitmer for Her Leadership on Gun Violence Prevention 

NEW YORK — Today, Everytown for Gun Safety named Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer the 2023 State Level Gun Sense Lawmaker of the Year for her leadership on gun safety, as part of this year’s Gun Sense University.

“Time and again, Governor Whitmer has made it clear she will not let gun rights extremists stop her from championing common sense laws to keep Michigan safe,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “In the 2023 legislative session alone, she signed three historic gun safety bills into law, and we are honored to name her one of our Gun Sense Lawmakers of the Year.” 

“Governor Whitmer, along with our grassroots army of volunteers and lawmakers who flipped the Michigan legislature to a gun sense majority, has made the state a national leader on gun safety,” said Angela Ferrell-Zabala, executive director of Moms Demand Action. “We are proud to work with the Governor as she builds on her success passing meaningful gun sense legislation and makes Michigan a safer place for all.”

“Gun violence continues to take its toll on communities across Michigan, and Governor Whitmer has made it clear that is unacceptable,” said Celeste Kanpurwala, chapter lead with the Michigan chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We thank Governor Whitmer for honoring gun violence survivors and advocates, and look forward to continuing our work with her to keep Michiganders safe.”

Gun Sense Lawmaker of the Year is an annual award given at Gun Sense University (GSU) to lawmakers who are setting an example on how to lead on gun safety. Gun Sense University, hosted by Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund (“Everytown for Gun Safety”), together with its grassroots volunteer networks Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, is an annual training and membership conference, bringing together thousands of volunteers and leaders of the gun violence prevention movement from all 50 states and Washington D.C. This year, Governor Whitmer is being given this award along with Illinois Governor JB Pritzker and Minnesota Governor Tim Walz for their historic work in their respective states. 

Governor Whitmer continues to lead on gun safety. Just this year, Governor Whitmer has signed into law three critical gun violence prevention bills. Most recently in May, Governor Whitmer signed legislation creating an Extreme Risk law, allowing for the temporary removal of firearms from people who pose a significant risk of harming themselves or others.

Additionally, several Michigan lawmakers were awarded the Demand a Seat Lawmaker of the Year Award. The Demand a Seat Award was created to celebrate the leadership and courage of individuals who have been on the front lines of advocating for change as Moms Demand Action or Students Demand Action volunteers and have channeled their advocacy into action by running for office and becoming champions for life-saving gun safety policies.

Prior to the November 2022 elections, the Michigan legislature refused to pass important gun safety policies that would have addressed gun violence in Michigan, and neglected to take action in the wake of the horrific shooting at Oxford High School in 2021. During the 2022 election, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers worked to elect a gun sense trifecta in the state, with Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s re-election and new Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, including electing nine of our own Michigan Moms Demand Action volunteers to help secure a gun sense majority in the state legislature. After ten years of rallying around gun safety, pushing public education campaigns, meeting with legislators, testifying at hearings and more, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers have become a powerhouse in the state of Michigan. Moms Demand Action volunteers-turned-elected-officials have gone from advocating for gun safety to legislating on it – not only voting to pass gun safety policies, but leading the way on their creation and enactment. 

With Moms Demand Action volunteers-turned lawmakers at the forefront, the Michigan legislature passed sweeping legislation in the wake of the tragic mass shooting at Michigan State University in February. As the chair of the Judiciary Committee in the Michigan House of Representatives, Kelly Breen led on the passage of a legislative package including an Extreme Risk law, background checks on all unlicensed gun sales, and requiring secure firearm storage in homes where children are present. From House Majority Whip Rep. Ranjeev Puri and Senate Majority Whip Mallory McMorrow’s leadership on the Extreme Risk law, to State Representatives Lori Stone and Brenda Carter fighting for the secure storage legislation, Moms Demand Action volunteers turned lawmakers led the way in pushing forward gun safety legislation.

More information about gun violence in Michigan is available here.

If you're a member of the media, please send inquiries to [email protected]