Mid-Michigan lawmakers react to open-carry ban at Michigan Capitol
Capitol Commission bans open carry of firearms in Michigan’s Capitol in unanimous vote
FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - (01/11/2021) - In a unanimous vote, the Capitol Commission banned the open carry of firearms in Michigan’s Capitol.
This comes days after last Wednesday’s chaos in D.C and months after protestors stormed the statehouse.
In April, protestors rushed the Michigan Capitol, demanding an end to the state’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order. Dozens were armed, some dressing their demands in military attire and long guns.
State Representatives like Ben Frederick from Michigan’s 85th District say they don’t appreciate that sort of tactic.
“I’ve always found open carry to be quite provocative. It does nothing but incite fear and create tension for law enforcement,” Frederick said.
Since then, lawmakers have been pushing to ban the open carry of firearms inside the Michigan Capitol. They were reluctant at first, but following an attack at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, it took just days for the state’s Capitol Commission to vote unanimously (6-0) for the open-carry ban.
“People have the right to peaceably assemble, but the key word there is, ‘peaceably,’ and I think it will lower the tensions from those that would obviously find a visual of long guns in particular being openly presented as quite a provocative thing,” Frederick said.
Michigan’s incoming Speaker of the House, Jason Wentworth released a statement, questioning if the Commission overstepped its power, saying in part, “The Speaker is grateful for the work of the Capitol Commission, but it does not have the authority to set policy in the Capitol. The Speaker will be looking at options for handling that moving forward.”
Wentworth added that everyone should respect the Michigan State Police, who will be enforcing the new ruling.
Frederick says it’s a prudent step, and it can go even further.
“I would be supportive of this as a change whether if it came forward as a law, so the principle of it I’m supportive of, but there will be I think an ongoing conversation about what the Commission’s authority is,” Frederick said.
Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich says it’s not enough, saying in part, “Unfortunately, Michigan has chosen the path of least resistance. Just today the Michigan Capitol Commission voted to ban open carry in the Capitol, allowing concealed carry to continue. Whether a gun has been carried openly or secretly makes no difference to me if one of our colleagues, staff, or visitors is murdered.”
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