LANSING, Mich. – The FBI warned law enforcement agencies of possible armed protests at state capitols of all 50 states next week.
Additionally, Michigan’s State Capitol Commission voted to ban open carry of firearms at the Capitol on Monday.
Concealed carry guns are still allowed.
“I think that the action today (Monday) is potentially worse than doing nothing,” said Sen. Mallory McMorrow.
With no checkpoints inside the Capitol, McMorrow said it is now harder for sergeants at arms to spot weapons if they can be concealed. McMorrow and others including Gov. Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel want a more comprehensive approach -- a ban on all weapons and possibly metal detectors and tighter security.
In regard to a scheduled protest in Michigan on Jan. 17, the FBI said:
“The FBI respects the rights of individuals to peacefully exercise their First Amendment rights. Our focus is not on peaceful protestors, but on those threatening their safety and the safety of other citizens with violence and destruction of property.”
“We have a responsibility to make sure -- not just for us doing our job but for everybody who comes to visit -- that it’s a safe place and especially right now. It is ludicrous not to take further action,” McMorrow said.
Incoming House Speaker Jason Wentworth disagrees with the commission’s vote, saying it does not have the authority to set policy at the Capitol and he would be looking at options to address it.
FBI warns of plans for nationwide armed protests next week
The FBI is warning of plans for armed protests at all 50 state capitals and in Washington, D.C., in the days leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, stoking fears of more bloodshed after last week’s deadly siege at the U.S. Capitol.
An internal FBI bulletin warned, as of Sunday, that the nationwide protests may start later this week and extend through Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration, according to two law enforcement officials who read details of the memo to The Associated Press. Investigators believe some of the people are members of extremist groups, the officials said. The bulletin was first reported by ABC.
“Armed protests are being planned at all 50 state capitols from 16 January through at least 20 January, and at the U.S. Capitol from 17 January through 20 January,” the bulletin said, according to one official. The officials were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.