Round Two: Sens. Bayer, Polehanki Reintro Bills to Prohibit Guns at State Capitol

LANSING, Mich. — Today, during the first Senate session of the 101st Michigan Legislature and amidst increasing threats to State Capitols nationwide, Sens. Rosemary Bayer (D-Beverly Hills) and Dayna Polehanki (D-Livonia) reintroduced legislation to prohibit both open and concealed carry of firearms in the Michigan State Capitol Building.

The bills come on the heels of the Michigan Capitol Commission’s Monday meeting, during which they voted to only ban open carry and failed to instate a full ban on all firearms in the building.

“The horrific events of January 6 at the U.S. Capitol should be a wake-up call to comprehensive action, since what happened in Lansing on April 30 last year when our Capitol was stormed by hundreds of armed individuals apparently wasn’t,” Sen. Bayer said. “When people assemble for rallies, which they have every right to do, it’s clear that the atmosphere quickly changes when rifles are present for intimidation purposes. There is no room for compromise in the current, pressure-cooker political environment we are in, and a full ban on firearms from our State Capitol is the only way to keep everyone who visits and works in the building safe.”

The FBI recently issued a bulletin to warn states that there are armed protests planned at all 50 state capitols from Jan. 16 through at least Jan. 20. They have advised local police agencies to increase their presence around state and city institutions out of an abundance of caution.

“When statistics show that the weapon of choice in most mass shootings is a handgun, it’s clear that all firearms need to be prohibited from our Capitol Building if we are truly going to keep people safe,” Sen. Polehanki said. “The Capitol Commission has shirked its duty to offer full protection for the legislators and staff who work in the building and the stream of schoolchildren and the public who frequently visit. The legislation that I reintroduced with my colleague today must be acted upon this year and not simply brushed aside like it was last year, because we have the responsibility to ensure there’s no potential opportunity for tragedies to occur.”

Senators Bayer and Polehanki initially introduced these two bills on Sept. 30, 2020 as Senate Bills 1158 and 1159, but they were referred to the Senate Government Operations Committee and not acted upon. Like last year’s legislation, the bills reintroduced this year would allow Michigan State Police officers and Sergeant-at-Arms to carry their firearms.

Firearms have long been allowed in Michigan’s State Capitol but are not allowed in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., and many other state Capitol buildings around the country.

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