The long-standing practice of open carry firearms inside the Michigan State Capitol Building in Lansing is being shut down. Open carry has been legal in Michigan since the state joined the Union. The Michigan Capitol Commission is unanimous in its vote on the issue. Just last summer, the Commission refused to take the same action. But a lot has happened in between. Not the least of which is the storming of the US Capitol in Washington last week. And a bomb threat against the Michigan Capitol last week. Then, Michigan State Senate Majority Leader, Republican Mike Shirkey, went from a no to a yes last week. But his counterpart in the State House of Representatives is not in agreement. Speaker-elect Jason Wentworth is opposed to the action.
He’s going so far as to say the Capitol Commission does not have the power to pull 2nd Amendment rights from Michigan residents.  Following the vote by the commission, Wentworth issued a short statement about what is sure to be a lingering issue. He says, “The Speaker is grateful for the work of the Capitol Commission, but it does not have the authority to set policy in the Capitol. The Speaker will be looking at options for handling that moving forward. In the meantime, the Michigan State Police will be enforcing the new ruling. In order to ensure there is no confusion in the Capitol, Speaker-elect Wentworth asks everyone to respect the Michigan State Police and the rules they enforce.” Wentworth is not describing how he plans to fight the open carry ban but it’s clear that is what he will be doing. He assumes the leadership role when the new Legislature begins work tomorrow.

What is leaving many people puzzled is the Commission is only banning open carry firearms, those that are plainly visible to anyone around the gun owner handling or possessing. Concealed carry weapons, those that are cloaked in some fashion, typically a full holster for a handgun, may still be brought into the capitol.

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Democratic State Senator Curtis Hertel is not pleased. He took to Twitter to say the ban on only open carry puts the Commission in the position of,  “...telling people how to get guns into our Capitol. Until we have metal detectors and guns are banned we are all at risk.” Democratic Party leaders including Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel are voicing similar comments.

One issue they’ll all have to deal with regarding concealed carry involves all the members of the state legislature and staff who conceal carry for personal safety. There are no hard and fast numbers covering the total number. But that they say, is part of the deterrent. When potential attackers don’t know who may be armed, they are less likely to try to impose violence on people who are fully capable of defending themselves and others around them.

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