MI Lawmaker's Bill Seeks To Address What Protestors Can Carry

Back in the old days, back when protests were a bad thing and were promised to lead to the spread of COVID-19, there were some protests in Michigan. They wanted to open up the economy. They also carried firearms for their protests.

Right or wrong, they did and complied with the law in doing so. We can debate whether it was wise or not, but the legality of it is beyond dispute.

Now, a Michigan lawmaker thinks the fact that signs are banned in the statehouse and guns aren’t is ridiculous and seeks to change that.

A bill introduced by state Rep. Kara Hope, D-Holt, on Wednesday would end an eight-year ban on political signs inside the Michigan Capitol.

The Michigan State Capitol Commission, tasked with setting rules inside Lansing’s Capitol, is currently deciding whether it will ban guns in response to concerns raised after armed protesters entered the building during protests of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“As we all saw during the armed protest of the ‘Stay Home’ order, there are items allowed in the Capitol that can cause far more serious harm than a sign,” Hope said in a statement announcing House Bill 5865. “It’s time to get rid of this ban.”

I…I uh…I actually agree with that.

I mean, sure, signs probably shouldn’t be banned. Yet, as a Democrat, one would expect Holt to focus on guns. She’s not. Instead, she’s addressing the injustice she sees not by limiting rights, but expanding them.

Honestly, this is a completely rational approach to the issue. While some took the disparity as justification to try and ban guns–a move that still isn’t officially dead–Hope took a different path, one that we should all celebrate.

I have no idea if Hope is pro-gun or not (though I suspect she’s not). I honestly don’t care just now because this isn’t a gun issue. It’s about basic, constitutionally-protected rights. The right to free speech and the right to bear arms are, or at least should be, treated equally. Hope’s proposal seeks to do just that.

As a matter of fact, she said as much.

“Carrying a sign into the Capitol is protected by our First Amendment right to free speech,” Hope said. “By allowing guns in the Capitol and not signs, we are sending a message to the people of Michigan that we respect one Constitutional right more than others.

“Or we are just being disingenuous — or worse — by pretending that a poster board can do more harm than a rifle.”

While I’d rather she not treat guns like they’re inherently dangerous just by being present, her argument isn’t necessarily wrong. Someone who is seeking to do violence can do it as well, if not better, with a rifle than a sign. Then again, there are far more people interested in violence with signs at protests than in violence with rifles, so that’s something to consider.

It’s my most sincere hope that her effort yields positive results, all while the push by others to ban guns in the capitol fails miserably.

I’m just sincerely shocked.

The question is, will this have a hope (no pun intended) in hell of happening? That remains to be seen. Right now, Whitmer’s pushing hard to have guns shut down. My guess is that if that happens, the ban on signs will hold. Especially as that ban is being used by many to justify a ban on guns in the building.

It’s a shame, too, because Hope’s arguments are sound on this one.