Michigan Capitol Commission to weigh open carry ban Monday

Michigan

A protester carries his rifle at the State Capitol in Lansing, Mich., Thursday, April 30, 2020. Hoisting American flags and handmade signs, protesters returned to the state Capitol to denounce Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-home order and business restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic while lawmakers met to consider extending her emergency declaration hours before it expires. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — The Michigan State Capitol Commission has scheduled a Monday meeting to return to the issue of whether guns should be allowed in the building.

Specifically, the commission will consider a resolution to ban the open carry of guns in the Capitol. Commission Chair Gary Randall told News 8 Friday that the panel could pass a resolution as soon as Monday and it could take immediate effect.

The issue, which the commission punted on last year, was brought back up following Wednesday’s riot at the U.S. Capitol.

“It was déjà vu,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, told News 8 Thursday. “We had seen scenes reminiscent of that before.”

It evoked images of the April 2020 protest in which armed people who opposed the governor’s coronavirus restrictions filed into the Michigan Capitol and the Senate gallery. There was no damage and no one was hurt, but Democrats said the move was a clear attempt at intimidation.

The assault on the U.S. Capitol prompted Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, to say he would be OK with banning open carry at the state Capitol. Nessel says that’s not good enough and that concealed carry should be banned, too.

Randall said a concealed carry ban is easier said than done.

“In order to do a total ban would require a huge expenditure,” he told News 8. “We are not in a position to do that right now. But this is the preventive step and it’s the one that most people have expressed concern about and that is people coming into the Capitol with automatic weapons and heavy armory.”

He said a concealed carry ban is not on Monday’s agenda, but the commission could always take the matter up in the future.

—News 8 reporter Jacqueline Francis contributed to this report.

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