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Democratic lawmaker removes sign barring guns after letter from Speaker of the House

no gun sign on glass door
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A state lawmaker says she felt “forced” by the Speaker of the House to remove a gun free zone sign from her state House office. Democratic State Representative Kara Hope (D-Holt) put up the sign last month. She says for the safety and comfort of her staff, she didn’t want any firearms in her office.

“Many of my colleagues have political signs and stickers and things on their doors, if you go over to the House Office Building you’ll see all kinds of things,” Hope said in an interview. “This has been singled out and I don’t think it’s fair.”

Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) sent Hope a letter where he “directed” her to remove a sign that asked people, aside from law enforcement, to not bring firearms into her Lansing office. Chatfield said the policy was unconstitutional.

“People have a right to petition their government, and that right to petition cannot be limited because they’re exercising another constitutional right,” Chatfield told reporters.

Hope disagrees, but said she took it down because as a freshman in the minority party, she doesn’t have a lot of power.

“He does have power,” she said. “He has the power to cut off my office allotment. He has the power to fire my staff. He has the power to do all those things that would make it hard for me to serve my constituents.”

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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