LANSING, Mich. — When Rep. Brenda Carter saw protesters storm the nation’s Capitol last week while Congress was certifying president-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College win, she immediately called it an "insurrection."
“We had a major event happen January 6,” Rep. Carter said during a Zoom interview on Thursday morning. “There was an insurrection against our cherished national monument, the Capitol. We have to look out for what lessons are we teaching our young people.”
One lesson she hopes everyone will learn is the importance of safety, especially at protests. The FBI warned earlier this week that more protests and possible unrest may hhappen at state Capitols across the country. The Southeast Michigan Militia has already planned a protest for Sunday in Lansing.
“I would expect thousands,” said its leader, Michael Lackomar, during an interview with WXYZ in Detroit. “It’s going to be a good turnout especially if this impeachment push continues.”
Lackomar added that they will be armed and that they’ve always remained peaceful.
However, that hasn’t always been the case with large rallies and protests at the Capitol in the past. Back in late April 2020, armed protesters entered the building while Rep. Carter’s colleagues were working inside.
“The incident that happened April 30 was not only outside of the Capitol, it was almost a dress rehearsal for what happened in D.C.,” Rep. Carter said. “These individuals were inside of the Capitol building. They were inside our senate chamber, up in the gallery. They were outside of the house door, and there’s only a three-inch door between them and us.”
Immediately after the incident she began working with Rep. Sarah Anthony to ban guns from the building. On Monday Jan. 11, the Capitol Commission voted unanimously to ban open carry of firearms.
“I was very glad that we were able to accomplish the ban on the open carry,” she said. “First of all I am in favor of our right to carry licensed, legal arms. That’s Constitutional, Second Amendment. However, brandishing firearms is a completely different story.”
Rep. Carter added that she’s been encouraged by democrats and republicans working together to move forward, in the wake of the attack at the nation’s Capitol.
“I’m seeing a lot of civility across the aisle in D.C., which really pleased me to see our republican colleagues stand up and say we want to put country first,” Rep. Carter said. “We want to de-escalate this violence. It’s not about what is happening. It’s about keeping our country safe.”
Rep. Carter said she's "cautiously optimistic" that there will be no violence this weekend and that others will value safety too.
“As long as we are respectful of our right to bear arms, I don’t see a problem with it. It crosses the line when you use our arms to intimidate to get a political point across,” Rep. Carter said. “We are not out to take anyone’s firearms away.”