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Some Democratic lawmakers call for immediate firearm ban in state Capitol building

A group of Democratic state representatives said Thursday that a ban on firearms in Michigan's state Capitol building is long overdue.

They want the Michigan State Capitol Commission or the Legislature to immediately institute a ban. They said each has the legal authority to do it and has repeatedly failed to take action.

The lawmakers spoke the day after a mob of pro-Trump extremists forced its way into the U.S. Capitol building in Washington D.C.  

"People sent me to the Capitol not to wonder if I left my bulletproof vest in my car," said Representative Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing). "They want to make sure I can lift up my voice and represent their interests."

Anthony said, "To act surprised by acts of violence is ridiculous."

"I continue to say it's not a matter of 'if' things escalate. If there's a presence of violence in our Capitol building, it is a matter of when," said Anthony.

Also on Thursday, Amber McCann, spokeswoman for State Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, wrote in response to a request for comment, "Senator Shirkey supports taking steps to ban open carry of firearms in the Capitol Building."

Legislation for that purpose was introduced in late September in response to armed men entering the Michigan Capitol building in late April. It died in committee at the end of the 2019-2020 legislative session.

John Truscott, vice-chair of the Michigan State Capitol Commission, said on Thursday that the Commission plans to meet on January 25. 

"There are numerous conversations going on today about whether or how we handle some of the issues we're dealing with - especially in light of what happened yesterday," said Truscott in a text.


Virginia Gordan has been a part-time reporter at Michigan Radio since fall 2013. She has a general beat covering news topics from across the state.
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