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

Livonia Senator: ‘Our response needs to be stronger if we are truly going to protect people’

FILE - In this April 15, 2020 file photo, protesters carry rifles near the steps of the Michigan State Capitol building in Lansing, Mich.  A plot to kidnap Michigans governor has put a focus on the security of governors who have faced protests and threats over their handling of the coronavirus pandemic. The threats have come from people who oppose business closures and restrictions on social gatherings. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya File)
FILE - In this April 15, 2020 file photo, protesters carry rifles near the steps of the Michigan State Capitol building in Lansing, Mich. A plot to kidnap Michigans governor has put a focus on the security of governors who have faced protests and threats over their handling of the coronavirus pandemic. The threats have come from people who oppose business closures and restrictions on social gatherings. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya File) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Concerns over security at Michigan’s Capitol have reignited after the U.S. Capitol came under attack by a mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters last week.

In Michigan, concealed and open carry firearms are allowed in the Capitol, but signs have been banned since 2012 after right-to-work protesters came to the Capitol.

UPDATE: Commission votes to ban open carry of guns from Capitol building

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 have come in weapons policies.

Changes may now come in the wake of the attack on the U.S Capitol that interrupted Congress’s Electoral College vote for Joe Biden as president. Several people died, including a police officer, and numerous people were injured.

The Michigan State Capitol Commission, which is responsible for overseeing the Capitol and ultimately for making a decision on the future of firearms, has pushed back on accepting the responsibility and its leadership maintains its role should be limited.

Sen. Dayna Polehanki (D-Livonia) has released the following statement in advance of the Michigan Capitol Commission’s scheduled meeting Monday afternoon to discuss implementing a ban on the open carry of firearms in the Capitol Building:

”Let me make this clear: The Capitol Commission’s proposal to ban open carry from the people’s building does not ban bullets. Most mass shootings are carried out with handguns and dying by bullets discharged from shorter barrels is not a compromise, nor a solution. We dodged a bullet April 30 when our Capitol Building was stormed, and no deaths occurred, but the events of Jan. 6 last week in Washington, D.C. showed how quickly lives can be changed in an instant. Our response needs to be stronger if we are truly going to protect people. No one is safe until a complete ban on all firearms from the State Capitol is enacted and anything less is an abdication of the Commission’s responsibility.”

The commission had scheduled a meeting at the end of the month, but moved up the date to Monday, following the attack last week.

Polehanki posted this viral tweet from inside the Michigan Capitol building in April:

Michigan House Democratic Leader Donna Lasinski, D-Scio Twp., Rep. Sarah Anthony, D-Lansing, and Rep. Brenda Carter, D-Pontiac, called on the commission to go beyond the proposed ban on open carry firearms:

“Today we demand the Michigan State Capitol Commission take all necessary steps to protect the health and safety of those inside the building before the Legislature returns to session on January 13, 2021. We call upon the Commission to place an immediate ban on all firearms and other weapons. In addition to lawmakers doing the work of the people, our Capitol is open to school kids, tour groups and others seeking to learn more about the history of our amazing state. Without a significant change in policy, lives will continue to be put at risk by domestic terrorists carrying weapons.”


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


About the Author:

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.