LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Firearms could be banned inside of Michigan’s state Capitol on Monday.
This comes after multiple people showed up wielding guns to protest stay-at-home orders. The Capitol Commission, which is charged with managing and ensuring safe access to the building, is now looking at potentially banning weapons.
“For the general public, when it comes to protesting, unless the thing that you’re protesting has to do with guns and you want to show that you’re in support of it, I don’t understand why you do need to have a weapon,” said Attorney General Dana Nessel.
Lawmakers like Rep. Sarah Anthony, D-Lansing, say the guns felt like intimidation. A group of armed men and women walked her into the building a week after demonstrations.
Nessel says her office has multiple investigations in the works of other credible threats made to lawmakers and law enforcement.
“I believe it’s not a matter of if there will be a very a serious situation at the Capitol building but when. And if and when that does occur, I think that the commission may have blood on their hands,” Nessel said.
Nessel says the commission has the authority to ban firearms from the building. She says it’s a practice that’s already in place in courtrooms and some public spaces across the state.
“Michigan is an outlier. This is not something that is strange or unusual, and also we obviously don’t let firearms into our nation’s Capitol building either,” Nessel said.
Currently, about half of the states in the Great Lakes Region allow guns at capitol buildings.
News 8 reached out to Republican House Speaker Lee Chatfield and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey. Both were unavailable for comment. After being asked about intimidation at the Capitol in a previous News 8 story, a spokesperson for Shirkey sent the following:
“The House and Senate have their own police force in the form of the sergeants and Michigan State Police are stationed in the building. The majority leader feels these men and women do an excellent job of ensuring safety of legislators and staff.”
Nessel says she hopes the commissioners move forward with banning weapons.
“With further protests already on the books right now, already being disseminated around social media, time is really of the essence and this has to be done as quickly as possible because I don’t know how many more opportunities we’re going to get before something happens,” Nessel said.
The Capitol Commission will vote on this Monday at 11 a.m. Nessel says if they decide to pass the firearm ban, it can be implemented immediately.