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State attorney general says commission could ban firearms at Capitol

State attorney general says commission could ban firearms at Capitol
Posted at 12:03 PM, May 09, 2020

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said today a state commission could legally prohibit firearms in the Capitol.

Nessel sent a letter on the topic to the State Capitol Commission, according to the attorney general's office today.

The commission's legal authority on the matter is consistent with the "state of the law regarding firearms in public buildings."

The letter to the commission and announcement by Nessel come after recent protests at the Capitol, where some residents carried firearms.

Nessel's office said lawmakers and Capitol employees expressed that "they felt threatened and feared for their safety."

The commission is also meeting on Monday to discuss the issue .

The six-member State Capitol Commission manages the Capitol and its grounds.

“The Capitol is a place for free expression of thought and debate," Nessel said. "But the freedom of civil discourse does not imply the right to threaten others with harm or violence. In our current environment and as the chief law enforcement officer in this state, I am gravely concerned for the safety of both our legislative members and the public at large.

“With exceptions to those tasked with protecting our Capitol, the only way to assure that a violent episode does not occur is to act in concert with the many other state legislatures around the nation that have banned firearms in their capital facilities.

"The employees at our Capitol and members of the public who visit are entitled to all the same protections as one would have at a courthouse and many other public venues. Public safety demands no less, and a lawmaker’s desire to speak freely without fear of violence requires action be taken.”