Michigan AG issues formal opinion saying firearms can be banned in Capitol

Posted at 9:27 AM, May 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-11 09:27:33-04

LANSING, Mich. (WXYZ) — Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel issued a formal opinion Monday saying the Michigan State Capitol Commission can ban firearms in the State Capitol.

“I firmly believe in the right to protest, the right to demonstrate, and the right to loudly and strongly object to those causes that move us,” Nessel said. “These rights are so fundamental to our democracy that they are enshrined in the First Amendment of our Constitution. But it is also important to remember that the right to protest does not encompass the right to violence, or the right to harm those individuals with whom you disagree.”

The opinion comes a couple of days after Nessel sent the commission a letter saying that they could ban guns inside the Capitol. Some commissioners dismissed the letter saying it wasn't a formal opinion.

It's expected the commission will take up a vote on Monday.

On Saturday, Democratic House leader Rep. Christine Grieg called on the commission to ban firearms in the Capitol building.

“Now is not the time for gamesmanship, partisan politics, or equivocation,” Greig wrote. “Now is the time to take urgent action to protect public safety and the legislative process from those who would do violence to both.”

It comes after images of protestors armed with rifles inside the Capitol during a protest of the stay-at-home order earlier this month.

Nessel said she was "deeply troubled" by the photos.

“Members of our Legislature should not have to wear bulletproof vests or be escorted by armed guards in order to serve the People of this State,” Nessel said.

You can read the entire opinion below.

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