Despite a recent change to the carry policy at the Michigan state capitol building in Lansing to prohibit the open carrying of firearms inside the Capitol, some Democrats in the state legislature are demanding more; a complete ban on firearms in and around the Capitol complex.
With Republicans in control of the state legislature, you’d think that the idea would be a non-starter, but unfortunately some members of the GOP seem willing to go along with the ban, as long as lawmakers themselves are exempt. State Rep. Gary Eisen has proposed a bill to ban the carrying of firearms in the Capitol.. unless you’ve been elected to office.
If the Democrat bill and Eisen’s bill both pass, the Michigan Capitol would be a gun-free zone, but lawmakers would still be allowed to bring concealed weapons into the building.
- Right now, first-time offenders face a $500 fine and a mandatory 6-month suspension of their concealed weapons license. Under the bills, that would be reduced to $250 and no suspension.
- Second-time offenders currently pay a fine of up to $1,000 and the court must revoke their license. These bills would change the punishment to 90 days in jail, a $1,000 fine, or both, and the court would have the option to suspend the license for up to 6 months.
- A third offense is a felony and would remain so under these bills. However, the bills would reduce the sentence from 4 years in prison to 2 years. The offender’s license would be revoked.
What a tone-deaf response by Eisen here. The lawmaker, who says he’s a life member of the National Rifle Association, wants to grant special privileges to himself and his colleagues while requiring visitors and even legislative staff to be disarmed at the state Capitol?
I’m fully on board with Eisen and other legislators carrying for their personal safety, but I can’t support carving out an exemption in the Capitol gun ban that allows them to do while depriving others of their own ability to lawfully carry in self-defense. In fact, I can think of no better way for the Republican members of the legislature to tick off their base than by claiming some special status that permits them to carry while others are denied that same right.
The way I see it, if you’re fighting for your ability to carry, and not the right of the people to bear arms, you’re not fighting for the Second Amendment. You’re simply fighting for your own special status while throwing others under the wheels of the gun ban bus.
At the moment, the policy in the Michigan Capitol allows for concealed carry inside the building and open carry on the Capitol grounds. It’s not perfect, but it’s at least equitable, unlike the idea of lawmakers granting themselves the privilege to carry while declaring the Capitol a gun-free zone for everyone else.
Eisen’s bill should be a non-starter for the GOP caucus in Lansing, along with any other proposal that removes the right to carry for those with a concealed carry license. Politicians aren’t the only ones concerned for their own safety, so under no circumstances should they and other “favored citizens” be the only ones allowed to carry inside the Capitol.