COLDWATER, MI (WTVB) - There’s been a potentially significant move on Capitol Hill regarding gun control. So where does Branch County stand compared to the rest of the state on the number of people in the county with gun permits? The latest data from the Michigan State Police shows Branch County 50th out of 83 counties in the gun permit per capita listing. Calhoun is 36th, Hillsdale 44th, and St. Joseph 54th. Counties in the northern half of the state with smaller populations top the rankings with Keweenaw number one and Montmorency second.
Meanwhile, Bridge Magazine and the Center for Michigan report that if you live in Michigan, you’re more likely to die from a bullet than from a motor vehicle accident. Nine other states are in that category as well. In 2011, there were 942 vehicle deaths in Michigan while the total number of homicide and suicide deaths by firearms in the state was 1,152. Back to Washington where two key senators Wednesday rolled out a bipartisan amendment on background checks for gun buyers. Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Republican Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania say the measure would expand criminal checks to include sales made at gun shows and online.
It's aimed at closing loopholes in the existing law without affecting other private sales. Senator Manchin said the amendment does not infringe on the rights of gun owners. He called it "a first step" toward finding common ground to keep guns out of criminal hands and to help keep children safe. The bipartisan agreement may boost prospects for the passage of a gun control bill. The Senate is set to hold its first test vote on the issue today.