Whitmer: ‘More Action Needed’ After State Panel Votes To Ban Open Carry In Capitol

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 31: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks during a drive-in campaign rally with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama at Belle Isle on October 31, 2020 in Detroit, M... DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 31: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks during a drive-in campaign rally with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama at Belle Isle on October 31, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. Biden is campaigning with Obama on Saturday in Michigan, a battleground state that President Donald Trump narrowly won in 2016. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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January 11, 2021 2:51 p.m.

After the Michigan State Capitol Commission moved to ban the open carry of firearms in the Capitol building on Monday morning, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) said that the move is “a good start, but more action is needed.”

The state panel had been reluctant to issue rules for firearms, despite calls to do so since April, when armed protesters against Whitmer’s COVID-19 restrictions flocked to the Michigan State Capitol. The panel’s vote to ban the open carry of guns in the state Capitol happened almost a week after an armed mob breached the U.S. Capitol building. The violence left five people dead, including a Capitol police officer.

In her statement on Monday, Whitmer urged immediate action to “protect everyone who steps foot in our state Capitol,” citing how protesters against the COVID-19 restrictions she implemented stormed the state Capitol in April with “long guns in hand, looking to intimidate legislators doing their job.”

Whitmer also pointed to the “armed insurgency” at the U.S. Capitol that she stressed “cannot stand.’

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Whitmer said that although the state panel’s move to ban open carry guns at the Capitol is “a good start,” she urged “more action is needed.”

“On a normal day, hundreds of people walk through the Capitol, including groups of fourth graders, teachers, and parents on school field trips to learn about state government. That’s why we must take action to ban all weapons at the Capitol to keep Michiganders safe,” Whitmer said. “I am hopeful that the Capitol Commission will recognize the need for further action, and I stand ready to assist in implementing this policy to keep Michiganders safe.”

Last October, Whitmer was targeted in an alleged right-wing plot to kidnap and possibly murder her that was thwarted by the FBI.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel similarly said the vote to ban guns in the Capitol is “not enough” in a statement on Monday.

“Though I appreciate the Commission’s decision today to prohibit the open carry of firearms, it’s only a single step down the long path of reforms that are necessary to make our legislators, state employees and visitors safe in our state Capitol,” Nessel said. “Firearms – whether explicitly visible or concealed by clothing – possess the same capability to inflict injury and harm on others and only banning open carry does little to meaningfully improve the safety and security of our Capitol.”

Nessel urged the Michigan State Capitol Commission or the state’s legislature to “take the proper action and pass the necessary reforms that truly take into account the safety of those visiting and working in our Capitol” because the panel’s vote earlier Monday was “simply not enough to do that.”

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