LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is calling for a ban on all weapons at the state Capitol, citing April’s armed protests in Lansing and the insurrection in Washington, D.C., last week.
“No lawmaker, reporter, staff member, or anyone who works in the Michigan Capitol should fear for their safety at work,” Whitmer said. “But in the past year, we have seen a rapid rise in violent rhetoric and threats to public safety that require our immediate action.”
“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,” Whitmer said Monday in a statement.
There were also some smaller protests in Lansing the following month, as Michigan remained under a stay-at-home order.
Last week, a large mob of rioters stormed U.S. Capitol buildings during congressional meetings, forcing lawmakers to flee. Representatives are claiming President Donald Trump’s rhetoric encouraged such behaviors among his supporters.
On Monday, the Michigan State Capitol Commission unanimously voted 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.
Whitmer said the commission’s decision was 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,” Whitmer said. “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.”