‘Michigan Capitol is not safe’: AG Dana Nessel warns new ban on firearms not sufficient

FBI warns armed protests are planned nationwide ahead of Biden inauguration

LANSING, MICHIGAN - NOVEMBER 07: Armed Trump supporters take part in a demonstration at the Michigan State Capitol building on November 07, 2020 in Lansing, Michigan. The pro-Trump rally was disrupted when counter-protesters rushed into the event. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images) (John Moore, 2020 Getty Images)

LANSING, Mich. – Though Michigan officials have approved a ban on firearms inside the state’s Capitol, Attorney General Dana Nessel says the building is still “not safe.”

Following the deadly insurrection that shook the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, the Michigan Capitol Commission revisited an old proposition to ban the open carry of firearms inside the building. The commission unanimously voted to ban the open carry of guns from inside the Capitol, effective immediately, on Jan. 11.

However, AG Nessel and other Democratic lawmakers have been critical of the commission’s ban, arguing that it does not go far enough.

Read: Democrats criticize ban on open carry of guns inside Michigan Capitol for not going far enough

Nessel argues that the ban is not comprehensive and does not adequately protect the Capitol or the lawmakers inside by not addressing the issue of the concealed carrying of weapons inside the building.

“Let’s be clear-the recent rule passed by the Michigan Capitol Commission banning the open carry of firearms does not impose a mechanism to check to confirm that people carrying a concealed weapon are licensed CPL holders,” Nessel tweeted Tuesday.

Since last spring when armed protesters entered the Michigan Capitol 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.

The state AG says the Michigan Capitol Commission’s new ban does not require individuals carrying a concealed weapon to be confirmed as a license holder before entering the building.

“That means anyone-irrespective of criminal history, membership with an anti-government org, or stated intention to harm government employees-can still enter the Capitol fully locked and loaded with firearms or explosive devices hidden by clothing, backpacks, etc,” Nessel continued in the twitter thread.

“My job is not to provide state employees & residents or other visitors to our Capitol with a false sense of security, especially given the current state of affairs in Michigan and around the nation. I repeat-the Michigan Capitol is not safe,” Nessel’s tweet series concluded.

Nessel’s warnings come just as the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation warns that armed protests are planned in all 50 states in the days leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. According to an FBI bulletin shared Sunday, nationwide protests may start later this week and extend through Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration. Investigators also believe that some individuals who intend to protest are members of extremist groups.

More: FBI warns of plans for nationwide armed protests next week

The FBI’s latest warning is drumming up concerns about more bloodshed following the violent Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump rioters. Five people were killed during or as a result of the chaos at the Capitol.

According to a report in The Washington Post, the FBI had warned that extremists were preparing to come to Washington, attack Congress and engage in “war” on Jan. 6.

Related: State capitols step up security amid new safety concerns

On Jan. 11, the Michigan Democratic Party released the following statement regarding the commission’s ban 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.

Michigan Democratic Party

Related: Michigan senator calls for ban of all weapons at state Capitol

Michigan Gov. Whitmer issued the following statement on Jan. 11.

The Capitol Commission’s action to ban open carry guns at the Capitol is 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. 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.

Michigan Gov. Whitmer

Related: Records show fervent Trump fans fueled US Capitol takeover

About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.