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Sen. Hoitenga floats possible lawsuit during television appearance

Michigan Capitol Building and Gov. Austin Blair statue against a blue sky.
Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

The group overseeing Michigan’s state capitol could vote this week to ban guns and other weapons from the building.

That’s raised alarms from some legislators, who said a lawsuit is possible, especially if the ban were to apply to lawmakers.

“I believe there to be some major legal concerns. One major concern is the Capitol Commission’s authority to make these types of political decisions,” state Rep. Phil Green (R-Millington), chair of the legislative Second Amendment Caucus, said in a text.

As currently written, the Capitol Commission’s proposed ban on firearms, explosive, and other threatening objects would apply to lawmakers, in addition to the general public.

Speaking on WKAR’s “Off the Record,” state Senator Michele Hoitenga (R-Manton) said she would fight it if it went through.

“I can say that I’ve spoken with an attorney. I don’t want to be breaking any laws but again, this is a commission rule. This would not be a law. And I do believe there would be litigation,” Hoitenga told a panel of reporters on the show.

The issue may not get to that point.

In an email, Commission Chair Bill Kandler said he expects the group to introduce a resolution at its meeting Wednesday to “exempt legislators (who have a CPL license) to bring a gun into the Capitol.”

The issue of guns in the capitol arose in 2020 when armed protestors brought long guns into the Senate chambers.

After receiving a favorable opinion from the state Attorney General, the commission moved ahead with a ban on openly carrying a firearm inside the capitol.

It still allowed licensed concealed carry as part of a compromise.

With Democrats winning control of the state Legislature in November, the makeup of the commission changed.

At a meeting last month, the new-look group released details of its new plan. Shortly after, weapons detectors were installed at capitol entrances pending the go-ahead for a final plan.

Meanwhile, weapons detectors have already gone into use at House legislative offices.

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