When armed protestors stormed the Michigan Capitol last April and an armed insurrection resulted in the death of a capitol police officer at the United States Capitol last Wednesday, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer shared her response to a vote by the Michigan Capitol Commission to ban guns in the Michigan Capitol. Here’s what she had to say this afternoon:
“No lawmaker, reporter, staff member, or anyone who works in the Michigan Capitol should fear for their safety at work. But in the past year, we have seen a rapid rise in violent rhetoric and threats to public safety that require our immediate action. In April of 2020, armed protestors stormed the Michigan Capitol and stood in the gallery, long guns in hand, looking to intimidate legislators doing their job to serve the people of Michigan. And last week, we saw an armed insurgency occur in our nation’s capitol. This cannot stand. We must take immediate action to protect everyone who steps foot in our state Capitol.
“The Capitol Commission’s action to ban open carry guns at the Capitol is a good start, but more action is needed. On a normal day, hundreds of people walk through the Capitol, including groups of fourth graders, teachers, and parents on school field trips to learn about state government. That’s why we must take action to ban all weapons at the Capitol to keep Michiganders safe. 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.”
Shortly after the Governor’s statement was released, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel also issued a statement regarding the open carry of firearms in the Capitol building:
“Though I appreciate the Commission’s decision today to prohibit the open carry of firearms, it’s only a single step down the long path of reforms that are necessary to make our legislators, state employees and visitors safe in our state Capitol. Firearms – whether explicitly visible or concealed by clothing – possess the same capability to inflict injury and harm on others and only banning open carry does little to meaningfully improve the safety and security of our Capitol. I urge the Commission or our Legislature to take the proper action and pass the necessary reforms that truly take into account the safety of those visiting and working in our Capitol. Today’s actions are simply not enough to do that.”
Additionally, the Michigan Democratic Party released the following statement on behalf of Chair Lavora Barnes regarding the commission’s action:
“After months of delay the Michigan State Capitol Commission finally put their authority to use and voted in favor of banning the open-carry of firearms inside the State Capitol. And though we applaud the commission for finally taking action, it is not enough. Today’s vote only impacts individuals that choose to open-carry. Those with concealed weapon permits are still allowed to carry firearms (concealed) into the State Capitol. Every person that works in or visits our State Capitol, including the thousands of elementary age school children that come every year, should be guaranteed a safe experience. Allowing the needless carrying of concealed weapons inside the people’s house puts us all at risk. The Michigan State Capitol Commission must take the next step and ban ALL firearms inside the State Capitol.”