As the threat of violence around inauguration day looms, the Michigan State Capitol Commission voted to end open carry of guns in the state’s Capitol building while still allowing those with a permit to bring concealed guns on the property. The Monday vote was originally scheduled for late next month but was moved up because of security concerns after the mob attack on the nation’s Capitol building last week.
The move also comes after federal law enforcement officials issued a December 29th, 2020, warning to state and local officials that far-right individuals were planning violence specifically in Michigan and Minnesota’s state capitols. More recently the FBI issued another bulletin, obtained by ABC News, that warns armed protests are planned for all 50 state capitols and the U.S. Capitol starting January 16th. The agency also said there is a group planning “storming” of state, local, and federal courthouses and administrative buildings should Trump be removed from office before Joe Biden’s inauguration.
“The FBI received information about an identified armed group intending to travel to Washington, D.C. on 16 January,” the bulletin read. “They have warned that if Congress attempts to remove POTUS via the 25th Amendment, a huge uprising will occur.”
Calls for the open carry ban at the Michigan Capitol began after armed protesters stormed the Michigan Capitol last spring. Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who was targeted in an alleged kidnap and kill domestic terror plot just months ago, is not satisfied with the commission’s limited move only banning openly carried weapons and wants to ban all weapons at the state’s Capitol.
“On a normal day, hundreds of people walk through the Capitol, including groups of fourth-graders, teachers, and parents on school field trips to learn about state government,” Whitmer said in a statement. “That’s why we must take action to ban all weapons at the Capitol to keep Michiganders safe. I am hopeful that the Capitol Commission will recognize the need for further action, and I stand ready to assist in implementing this policy to keep Michiganders safe.”
State Sen. Dayna Polehanki agrees with the governor that the open carry ban does not go far enough. “Bullets are bullets. There is no reason any gun belongs in the Capitol, it’s absurd, the world thinks it’s absurd,” Polehanki said. “It sickens me that this is even being considered as a viable action.”
Federal officials have recommended an increased police presence at statehouses in response to the threats, and state capitols have heightened security after last week’s attack. The city of D.C. is also planning for at least 10,000 National Guard troops to be present for Biden’s inauguration.