Michigan commission votes to ban open carry of guns from Capitol building

Concealed carry firearms still allowed inside Capitol building

LANSING, MI - OCTOBER 17: The Boogaloo Boys kneel on the steps of the Capitol Building on October 17, 2020 during a rally in Lansing, Michigan. The Boogaloo boys called it a Unity Rally in an attempt to distance themselves from the Wolverine Watchmen who plotted to kidnap Michigans Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Two of the men arrested in the plot were affiliated with the Boogaloo Boys. (Photo by Seth Herald/Getty Images) (Seth Herald, 2020 Getty Images)

The Michigan State Capitol Commission unanimously voted Monday to ban the open carry of guns from inside the Michigan Capitol, effective immediately.

The commission, which is responsible for overseeing the Capitol, voted 6-0 in favor of banning firearms from inside the Lansing Capitol building. Concealed carry guns are still allowed.

Democratic lawmakers had requested an outright ban of all guns from inside the Capitol building, including the concealed carry guns.

The Michigan Democratic Party released the following statement on behalf of Chair Lavora Barnes.  

“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.”

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called this a “good start” but said all weapons must be banned at the Capitol.

Read more: Sen. Polehanki on firearms at Michigan Capitol: No one is safe until a complete ban

“The Capitol Commission’s action to ban open carry guns at the Capitol is a good start, but more action is needed,” reads a statement from Whitmer. “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.”

Since last spring when armed protesters entered the building and yelled at members of security outside the legislative chambers to be let inside, calls to ban firearms in the statehouse have been made, but no changes had come in weapons policies.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel called this a “single step down the long path of reforms that are necessary.”

“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,” reads a statement from Nessel. “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.”

Read more: Should guns be allowed in Michigan Capitol building?

About the Authors:

Rod Meloni is an Emmy Award-winning Business Editor on Local 4 News and a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional.