Whitmer proposes funds to ban guns from the Michigan Capitol

LANSING (AP) — It’s been one month since open carry was banned from the Michigan Capitol following an attack on the U.S. Capitol and now a fight to ban all firearms from the statehouse is ahead.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s proposed $67 billion state budget includes a $5 million allocation for improving Capitol security.

Public Information Officer for the State Budget Office Kurt Weiss said the plan would finance security staffing and equipment like metal detectors needed to implement a weapons ban, including a ban on concealed pistols.

The Michigan Capitol Commission, which is responsible for making decisions concerning the upkeep of the Capitol building and grounds banned open carry firearms on Jan. 11 after months of reluctance to take on that responsibility. Armed protesters entered the state Capitol in April demanding to be allowed into legislative chambers in opposition to Whitmer's COVID-19 restrictions.

Commission Vice Chairman John Truscott, who looked into the feasibility and cost of a complete guns ban last year, said the commission didn’t make any new budget requests and any further discussions about security systems in the building should be by elected officials.

“We maintain the building and its historic significance. The weapons issue was unfortunately thrust on us by the attorney general’s opinion — it was never the intent of the Legislature to have the Capitol Commission making policy decisions,” Truscott said.

The governor has supported a full weapons ban in the Capitol. Whitmer spokesman Robert Leddy noted the governor’s concern for the thousands of people who visit the building every year.

Both leaders of the Republican-led Legislature expressed support for Michigan State Police enforcing the open carry ban shortly after it was enacted, but have expressed disapproval for a concealed carry ban.

Both the budget proposal and legislation to ban firearms would have be approved by the Legislature.


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