Commissioners who operate the Michigan Capitol voted Monday to ban carried firearms. This capped a long-running debate after armed protestors came to the state Senate. This is three months after authorities exposed a plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
The Republican-controlled Capitol Commission approves an immediate ban during its 1 p.m. meeting Monday. The panel stopped short of a full gun ban and will allow concealed pistol license holders to carry their weapons into the building.
The exception drew criticism from Democrats and gun rights groups. They state the new measure won’t stop violent extremists such as those who stormed the U.S. Capitol last week.
Republicans control both chambers of the Michigan Legislature. They have been hesitant to enact stricter gun measures.
The new policy comes from reports from the FBI that armed protestors will visit each State Capitol. This warning is for January 20th, the date of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
Michigan has been one of the few states nationwide to allow long guns in its Capitol.
The armed protesters stood in the gallery of the Michigan Senate while lawmakers worked below on the floor of the chambers. Some with bulletproof vest.
“Without a significant change in policy, lives will continue to be put at risk by domestic terrorists carrying weapons. “
What Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Has To Say
Whitmer called the new policy “a good start” toward protecting the Michigan Capitol and its visitors. “More must be done to protect students, teachers, parents and others who visit the building for tours.”
“We must take action to ban all weapons at the Capitol to keep Michiganders safe,” the governor said in a statement. “I am hopeful that the Capitol Commission will recognize the need for further action, and I stand ready to assist in implementing this policy to keep Michiganders safe.”
Commissioners have said a ban on all guns needs cooperation from Michigan’s Republican-led Legislature.
Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, supports a ban on open carry in the state Capitol but “believes those with permits should be allowed to concealed carry,” spokeswoman Amber McCann said.
Advocates of stricter gun restrictions state that most government buildings have tighter security than the Capitol.
The commission meeting comes a week after a bomb threat closed the Capitol on Thursday morning.