The battle over whether concealed and open carry firearms should be allowed at the State Capitol building is taking a new direction this week. Two Democratic state representatives are introducing related legislation.  Their plan calls for a total ban on any firearm carried inside not just the Capitol building, but legislative offices as well.

The bills, introduced by Democratic Representatives Tyrone Carter, and Julie Brixie would declare the entire capitol complex, including the grounds, off-limits for firearms except those carried by police and security personnel. The plan calls for misdemeanor-level penalties with violations punishable by up to a $100 fine, and a 90-day jail term.

Earlier this month, the Michigan State Capitol Commission voted unanimously to ban open carry firearms. But last summer, the Commission refused to take that step. What happened in between, especially the violent takeover of the US Capitol in Washington this month, made the difference.

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Representative Brixie says the Commission didn’t go far enough so the legislature needs to step up. “The Capitol Commission has repeatedly failed to take action to protect the elected officials and staff who work in the Capitol, as well as the thousands of visitors and school groups that come to learn about our state’s history.

Brixie goes on to say, “Prohibiting open-carry may prevent militia members from standing over lawmakers in the galleries with their guns drawn, but it doesn’t address the very real threat of violence that exists as long as guns are still allowed. Until we expressly prohibit all firearms at the Capitol and the legislative office buildings, we continue to allow militia members to dictate whether or not the Legislature can safely get to work for the people of Michigan at a time when they need our support the most.”

There’s no word when or if the Republican-controlled statehouse will quickly assign the bills for committee action.

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