In 2020, we saw a lot of protests, but one that sparked a lot of outrage didn’t involve a single fire, broken window, or stolen television. The reason it sparked outrage was because it had a bunch of guys lawfully carrying firearms while making their voices heard.
It just happened to be in the Michigan capitol.
Now, I’ve said before that I don’t think it was a good move simply because the conversation became about the guns, not the issue they were there to speak out about.
Yet, time and again, I’ve defended their right to do so even if I think it was a bad strategy.
Last week, a different capitol building saw a group of people wandering their halls, angry at their government, and now some in Michigan are using that to try and justify banning guns in their building.
Concerns over security at Michigan’s Capitol have reignited after the U.S. Capitol came under attack by a mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters last week.
In Michigan, concealed and open carry firearms are allowed in the Capitol, but signs have been banned since 2012 after right-to-work protesters came to the Capitol.
Since last spring when armed protesters entered the building and yelled at members of security outside the legislative chambers to be let inside, calls to ban firearms in the statehouse have been made, but no changes have come in weapons policies. Changes may now come in the wake of the attack on the U.S Capitol that interrupted Congress’s Electoral College vote for Joe Biden as president. Several people died, including a police officer, and numerous people were injured.
The Michigan State Capitol Commission, which is responsible for overseeing the Capitol and ultimately for making a decision on the future of firearms, has pushed back on accepting the responsibility and its leadership maintains its role should be limited.
The commission had scheduled a meeting at the end of the month, but moved up the date to Monday, following the attack last week.
I understand their concern, but there are a few facts they need to consider.
First, the armed protest in the Michigan State Capitol was peaceful. While people were upset and vocal about it, they weren’t violent by any stretch of the imagination.
Many of those who stormed the United States Capitol weren’t.
In that case, they broke windows, assaulted people, and vandalized congressional offices as well as stole property. They did all that while unarmed.
You see, a case can be made that the U.S. Capitol situation wouldn’t have happened if rally-goers had been armed in the first place. People who lawfully carry guns tend to be a bit more cautious about their actions. While I have little doubt they may have approached the Capitol, I seriously doubt any would have entered. Many would likely have left once it became clear things were heading south.
But that’s speculation, of course. It’s speculation based on long experience with the gun community, but still speculation. I get that.
Yet in Michigan, they were armed and didn’t do a damn bit of damage. They were frightening to people who are easily frightened, but that’s about it.
Holding Michigan gun owners responsible for what happened in Washington, D.C. would be a significant mistake. Unfortunately, while the commission had seemed uninterested in touching the subject of guns in the capitol, I fear that last week’s incident will change their tune.
We’ll have to wait and see.