GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The chaos at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday has sparked renewed calls for a gun ban at the Michigan Capitol building.
The events that unfolded at our nation’s Capitol has many state leaders drawing parallels to what played out in Lansing last spring when armed protestors stormed the state Capitol.
“It was déjà vu,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said. “We had seen scenes reminiscent of that before.”
Ever since the April protest in Lansing, Nessel and other elected officials have been pushing for the Michigan State Capitol Commission to ban guns in the building.
But a lot of talk led to little action.
In September, the commission choosing to hold off on making a final decision, saying they wanted to meet with lawmakers to discuss funding for enforcement before putting the ban into motion.
Nessel telling News 8 enough is enough.
“It’s past time,” Nessel said. “If they wondered what the potential outcome could be, I think we’ve seen it in the Capitol yesterday.”
John Truscott, vice-chair of the Capitol Commission, saying there are several obstacles to overcome before a weapons ban could be successfully implemented.
“We don’t have the ability to implement it,” Truscott said. “We don’t have the money, the security equipment or the personnel to implement it.”
Nessel urging the Legislature to find the funding to overcome these challenges.
“I understand that of course, metal detectors cost money, personnel cost money, but if each and every courthouse in the state of Michigan can find the resources for this, we can certainly do that for the State Capitol building,” Nessel said.
Lawmakers echoed this renewed call for change during a virtual press conference Thursday morning.
State Rep. Sarah Anthony, D-Lansing, also seeing this as an opportunity to act, as she too has spent months pressuring the Capitol Commission to ban guns from the building.
“People sent me to the Capitol not to wonder if I left my bulletproof vest in the car,” Anthony said. “They want to make sure I can lift up my voice and represent their interest.”
Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey weighing in on the idea Thursday, telling News 8 he’d support a ban on the open carry of firearms in the Capitol.
Nessel quickly firing back, saying an open carry ban isn’t enough.
“Guns that you can’t see can kill you just as quickly as those that you can,” Nessel said in response to Shirkey’s position.
Truscott said the commission will likely revisit the topic of a weapons ban at their next meeting on Jan. 25.
In the meantime, other House and Senate leadership sent News 8 their thoughts on the potential of imposing a weapons ban at the Capitol.
“Our current policy doesn’t cut it,” Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich, D-Flint, said in a statement sent to News 8. “If the actions that took place last spring at our state Capitol weren’t enough to spark change, the violent mob at the U.S. Capitol yesterday needs to be that catalyst… Every day that we continue to allow guns in the Capitol is one day closer to a preventable tragedy.”
“I know the commission, the Senate majority leader, and previous House leadership were working on various options,” Speaker of the House-elect Jason Wentworth, R-Clare, said in a statement. “I am still considering and reviewing those ideas, and I look forward to continuing the conversations on this issue soon to find the best solution possible.”