Bill Dwyer

Oakland County leaders seeks to balance gun rights, safety

by Bill Laitner, Detroit Free Press  |  published on February 28, 2013

They’re more accustomed to discussing things like fees for the county morgue and policies for the animal shelter.

But on Tuesday, mirroring how the nation’s debate on firearms is seeping into all nooks of government, a committee of Oakland County commissioners held a hearing on what to do about gun violence.

“There are certainly no easy solutions,” said county Commissioner Bill Dwyer, a former police chief in Farmington Hills and Warren, who chaired the hearing.

But Dwyer said he felt compelled to address the issue after 48 years in law enforcement — and after the carnage in December at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., which political analysts say was a turning point in the nation’s long debate on gun control.

“I’ve heard estimates there are more than 300 million guns in this country, and about 40% of those firearms didn’t go through a background check,” Dwyer told the Public Services Committee. Dwyer said he hopes to hold “at least” three monthly hearings to explore what has stymied leaders from Lansing to the White House — how to reduce gun deaths without infringing on the right to bear arms.

Echoing the nation’s political divide, two residents gave the committee virtually opposite views.

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