Michigan is one of three states that enforce the archaic practice of allowing firearms into their state capitol. On April 30th, armed protesters descended onto the state capitol to intimidate legislators and the governor into ending the stay at home order. Every protest is filled with emotions, usually frustration. The right to express those emotions and opinions is protected by the First Amendment. However, it is dangerous and corrosive to democracy to allow lawmakers and staff to be threatened as they go about the public’s business.
The people who came to the Capitol that day were toting nooses and swastikas and semiautomatic weapons. They blockaded entrances to offices, attempted to invade the House Floor, and loomed over lawmakers with firearms. Although their actions may not have met the legal definition of ‘brandishing’ weapons, their intent to intimidate the Legislature and governor was clear.
The Capitol Commission has the authority and the duty to protect legislators, staff, future protesters, and the general public by prohibiting firearms at the Michigan Capitol. The time to act is now–not after a tragedy forces our hands.
Capitol Commission meets Monday, so call TODAY!
Michigan State Capitol Commissioners
Gary Randall (Chair): (517) 373-0135
John Truscott (Vice-Chair): (517) 487-9320
Margaret O’Brien (Secretary of the Senate): (517) 373-2400
Suggested Script for Contacting Commissioners:
Hi, I’m calling to urge Commissioner _______ to support banning firearms in the state capitol. The armed protests on April 30th should be a wake up call that action must be taken now. It is dangerous and corrosive to democracy to allow lawmakers and staff to be threatened as they go to work. There is no constitutional right to bring a weapon into a public building—weapons are barred in the U.S. Capitol, courthouses, the White House, and almost all state capitols. It is your duty and within your authority to protect legislators, staff, future protesters, and the general public by prohibiting firearms at the Michigan Capitol. Please take action now, before we have a tragedy on our hands.