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Request for Michigan National Guard at state Capitol ignites debate over concealed weapons

Virus Outbreak Protests
Posted at 4:12 PM, Jan 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-12 17:28:58-05

LANSING, Mich. (WXYZ) — The FBI and local law enforcement are sending warnings about threats to all 50 states' Capitol buildings, and some local courthouses leading up to the presidential inauguration. Some leaders are calling for additional resources to be brought in to help.

The Lansing mayor and council president have officially asked the governor for the Michigan National Guard. But, an official ruling still hasn’t happened.

Lansing's mayor wants to make sure any upcoming protests and demonstrations at the Capitol remain peaceful leading up to the inauguration. The council president is also making the case for added safety measures.

“We need all available resources here in our community to preserve the safety of all our residents and visitors,” said Peter Spadafore, president of the Lansing City Council.

In the wake of a deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol and some of the armed protests held in Lansing, the city council president asked the mayor to put forth that request for the guard. So far, the governor has simply just pledged to take all necessary steps to ensure safety. And the timing of a possible guard arrival is being left up to law enforcement tracking threats as some planned gatherings could begin this weekend.

“We need the formal process to take place ahead of time, so we’re not stuck scrambling the day of if something should happen," Spadafore said.

Also, this comes as lawmakers banned open carry inside the Capitol, but not guns carried concealed under the law with a license. Today, lawmakers on both sides are weighing in.

RELATED: Commission votes to ban open carry of firearms at Michigan Capitol

“We should ban all guns from the state Capitol and join the 30 other plus states that do so,” said Democrat Sen. Stephanie Chang.

Republican Sen. Joe Bellino adding, "Banning open carry they did. They can’t touch concealed carry. It’s in our constitution and would have to go to a vote in the legislature and every republican would vote no on it. The Capitol is the people’s house and the state of Michigan is the people’s house.”

The Michigan National Guard released the following statement regarding anticipated unrest:

We continue to work closely with Governor Whitmer as commander in chief of the Michigan National Guard and with the National Guard Bureau in Washington, D.C. to determine how we can best plan for and continue to provide support for the state and nation. We continue our work in assisting Michigan with COVID-19 response efforts, including administering the vaccines.

The Michigan National Guard has approximately 11,000 members, so there is every confidence that our men and women will continue to serve Michigan and the nation where we are needed.