A first-term lawmaker in Michigan is unhappy after being told to take down a sign declaring her office in the state capitol a “gun free” zone, but she’s reluctantly complying with the order.
Rep. Kara Hope, D-Holt, said she placed the sign in her doorway Sept. 10 at the start of 2nd Amendment Day, when gun rights activists rallied at the Michigan Capitol with pistols and rifles.
The sign was meant to foster an environment where constituents could feel safe speaking to their representative, Hope said. Gun-toting constituents could reach her by other means, she added.
Well, that seems a little discriminatory, doesn’t it? If gun owners aren’t violating any laws by carrying in the capitol, then why should Rep. Hope refuse to see them? The representative received a request by the state House Speaker to take down the sign, but the anti-gun representative demanded a written letter before she would comply. After receiving the letter this week, the sign came down, but the representative is still speaking out.
In a statement Wednesday evening, Hope pinged the speaker’s run-in with federal Transportation Security Administration officials last year when he inadvertently carried a loaded, unregistered handgun into a Michigan airport.
Chatfield apologized for the incident, paid a $250 civil infraction fine and was assessed a nearly $4,000 fine by the TSA.
“Given his history, I know Speaker Chatfield has a very casual, even careless attitude toward guns, but I do not share that attitude,” Hope said in the statement.
No, she apparently has a hoplophobic attitude towards firearms. Rep. Lee Chatfield acknowledged his mistake, which is more than can be said for Rep. Hope. She’s still bitterly clinging to the idea that gun free zones actually make anyone safer, as opposed to merely disarming the law-abiding and providing more opportunities for twisted individuals to do harm.
In the statement released shortly after taking down the “no guns” sign, Hope also complained that 1st Amendment rights were being violated.
“The Speaker is forcing me to sacrifice the First Amendment rights of any constituent looking to enter my office and speak with their elected representative in an environment where they feel safe, and that is not something I should be asked to do. The sign was simply there in an effort to ensure the safety of anyone in my office on Sept. 10, the day of the Second Amendment rally.”
That is a silly argument. Under Hope’s logic, she was forcing constituents to sacrifice their 1st Amendment rights if they wanted to speak to their elected representative while exercising their right to bear arms. The 1st Amendment protects our right to speak, to use the power of the press, to petition our government, and to peaceably assemble. There’s no asterisk in the 1st Amendment or clause that states “this right shall not be exercised while exercising one’s 2nd Amendment rights.” If Rep. Hope’s anti-gun constituents are too terrified to walk into her office because there might be an armed citizen there, it’s a shock they managed to leave their home and drive to the state capitol in the first place. As of last year there were more than 600,000 active concealed carry licenses in the state of Michigan, which amounts to 8% of the state’s adult population. Gun owners aren’t just carrying at the state capitol, they’re lawfully (and peacefully) carrying throughout the state, including the district Hope represents.