Gov. Whitmer proposes complete ban on firearms in state Capitol building


Gov. Gretchen Whitmer presents remarks at a press conference held on Nov. 10, 2020. - STATE OF MICHIGAN
  • State of Michigan
  • Gov. Gretchen Whitmer presents remarks at a press conference held on Nov. 10, 2020.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is proposing a complete ban on firearms in the state Capitol building as part of her budget proposal, a move that will require approval from the Republican-controlled Legislature.

The proposal comes a month after the Michigan State Capitol Commission unanimously voted to prohibit the open carry of firearms in the Capitol building. The ban does not include concealed weapons.

Whitmer’s $67 billion budget calls for adding $5 million to boost Capitol security, which would include more staff and equipment such as metal detectors to impose the ban, Pubic Information Officer for the State Budget Office Kurt Weiss told the Associated Press.

Whitmer and Democratic lawmakers have called for increased security after menacing protesters with rifles entered the Capitol building on April 30.

The Michigan Capitol building was temporarily shut down last month following a bomb threat, and Whitmer has been the target of threats. In October, 14 men were charged with plotting to kidnap the governor.

Whitmer spokesman Robert Leddy said the proposal is intended to protect visitors to the Capitol.

“It’s important for people to feel safe inside the Michigan Capitol building, especially the thousands of elementary students who visit each year," Leddy said. "The Republican-led Legislature and the Michigan Capitol Commission said that a lack of funds has prevented them from taking action to ban weapons, which is why Governor Whitmer included this funding in her budget. We hope this will help them do the right thing and protect everyone who enters the Capitol by banning firearms.”

Some Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, have spoken out against a ban on concealed firearms.

The Hillsdale County Republican Party censured Shirkey last week for supporting the open-carry ban. At a video-recorded meeting with county party leaders earlier this month, Shirkey encouraged one of the party members to test the constitutionality of the ban.

"Carry in your long gun now and test it," Shirkey said.

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