Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Michigan commission strengthens open carry ban after loophole exploited

Posted By on Tue, May 18, 2021 at 12:00 PM

  • Brian Charles Watson, Wikimedia Creative Commons
  • Michigan State Capitol.

The Michigan Capitol Commission closed a glaring loophole in its recent open carry ban that allowed some gun owners to carry firearms into the Capitol building without concealing them.

The bipartisan commission voted unanimously Monday to strengthen the language of the ban after at least one gun owner exploited the loophole and walked into the building openly carrying a gun.

When the commission unanimously approved the ban in January, it included an exemption for concealed pistol license (CPL) holders. The idea was that CPL holders could still enter the Capitol building with a concealed gun. But the ban never mentioned that CPL holders could not open carry.

So when a man with a CPL walked into the Capitol building with a gun visibly upholstered on his hip earlier this month, Michigan State Police allowed him inside with the weapon.

Some gun control advocates, including Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, have called on the commission to prohibit concealed weapons in the building, which is often crowded with people, including children on school field trips.

Calls to ban guns from the Capitol increased in April 2020, when menacing protesters with rifles entered the building, frightening lawmakers and state employees.

The Michigan Capitol building was temporarily shut down in January following a bomb threat, and Whitmer has been the target of threats. In October, 14 men were charged with plotting to kidnap the governor.

A poll released in October showed that 76% of Michigan voters said the state Capitol should ban guns.

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