Alleged plot to kidnap Whitmer reignites Capitol gun debate

Michigan

LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — A cry for help was reinvigorated on the Senate floor Thursday after the FBI said it thwarted a militia’s plot to allegedly kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer and possibly attack the Michigan Capitol building.

“I pray that we use our God given common sense to make a law banning guns from this building,” said Senator Dayna Polehanki. “If not now, when?”

Polehanki and Representative Sarah Anthony are among several lawmakers calling on the Republican-led Legislature again to ban weapons from their workplace.

“I just don’t understand why this is so complicated, and it really is signaling that the lives of the men and women who work in that building do not matter,” Anthony said.

Anthony employed her own security, after a group of gun-wielding militia men stormed the Senate chamber in April, protesting the governor’s coronavirus restrictions.

She says she’s stunned to learn two of the men who were armed in the chamber are reportedly charged in connection to the alleged plot to kidnap the governor.

“It actually gives me chills to think these individuals were right, literally moments away from us, inches away from us,” Anthony said.

 Some Michigan State Capitol Commission board members also pressured Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and House Speaker Lee Chatfield to act.

“They could pass legislation immediately to ban all weapons in the Capitol and open carry in the Capitol,” said Joan Bauer, a Capitol Commission board member.

Chatfield responded to News 8’s question about possible changes from the legislature.

“I believe that people have the right to bear arms,” said Chatfield. “They just have to do so responsibly.”

As the call for a weapon ban in the Capitol continues, lawmakers remind state leaders their safety shouldn’t be politicized.

“We may not get a second chance like we had today,” Polehanki said.

A spokesperson for the Capitol Commission said the board will meet again Nov. 9.

He said it’s not clear if the weapon ban will be a topic of discussion, citing that conversation depends on what changes the Legislature could make in the coming weeks.

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