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Senate bills that would ban guns in State Capitol Building re-introduced

Two Democratic state senators have re-introduced legislation that would ban open and concealed firearms in the Michigan Capitol Building.

The ban would not apply to state law enforcement or Capitol security.

Sen. Rosemary Bayer (D-Beverly Hills) and Sen. Dayna Polehanki (D-Livonia) initially introduced the bills on September 30, 2020. But the bills were not acted on.

Earlier this week the Michigan State Capitol Commission voted to ban only the open carry of guns. People with valid concealed pistol licenses can still carry them into the Capitol.

Amber McCann, spokesperson for Republican Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, said in an email that Sen. Shirkey supports a ban on open carry, but not on concealed carry. She did not provide further explanation.

But Polehanki said prohibiting only open carry does not go far enough. 

"The reason people would want to bring guns to our Capitol is to intimidate or shoot. That's it. And both are wrong," Polehanki said.

"Banning open carry only creates a false sense of security among legislators, staff, visitors, reporters that we're safe in the Capitol when, in reality, guns are there," said Polehanki.  "Guns are welcome as long as we don't see them. Whether a gun is concealed carry or open carry, it's still a gun. It still has bullets. And it's still welcome in the Michigan Capitol."

Polehanki said that sadly she does not expect a different outcome for these bills now than when she introduced them last October.

"I think a ban on open carry is as far as my GOP colleagues are going to take it, as far as the Michigan Capitol Commission is going to take it," said Polehanki.

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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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