LANSING, Mich. – The battle over banning guns at the Capitol Building in Lansing continued Monday, with the Michigan Capitol Commission opting for further examination of the issue.
The Commission is normally responsible for the condition of the Michigan Capitol Building, but it has been told it has the authority to make the decision on whether guns should be allowed inside.
UPDATE -- May 11, 2020: Michigan coronavirus cases up to 47,552; Death toll now at 4,584
Commission members met Monday via Zoom call and got input from the Michigan attorney general as well as the Senate majority leader.
Attorney General Dana Nessel ruled the Commission has the power to ban firearms from the Capitol, but the Senate majority leader said no so fast, wanting the members to work with Legislative leaders and state police before making any decisions.
The board elected to put off a quick decision.
Images of militia members who carried rifles to a protest outside and inside the Capitol caused considerable consternation among Legislators and others a couple of weeks ago.
The Commission’s Zoom meeting caught so much attention it maxed out its membership, forcing on member, Bill Kandler, to call in on the phone because he couldn’t get in.
“The Capitol Commission is in charge of restoration, woodwork, historic painting, vintage chandeliers, polishing marble floors, planting flowers and tours,” Commission Attorney Amy Shaw said. “The Capitol Commission does not set public policy. The Legislature does.”
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Member Margaret O’Brien made a motion to study the issue.
“For me to make a final decision today would not be doing the duty I’m obligated to do, so the motion is not to sidestep the issue, but rather to do it in a thorough way,” O’Brien said.
Kandler said he wants politics removed from the issue.
“I think if we have the authority to act we have a duty to act as a committee,” Kandler said. “We can work thorugh this as we always have, as a purely objective review of what the law is.”
In the end, the Commission voted to form a five-member group to study the issue, but to do so quickly.
Commission members said the Zoom chat became caustic during the meeting, with threats and racist comments. The meeting was ended with a plan to meet next week.