As you’ve no doubt seen in the news, many parts of the country are experiencing a push to ban firearms from government buildings. A significant portion of this new “outrage” is media-driven opportunism by gun control advocates. To help sort the legal facts from fiction, let’s take a look at how the law plays a role in securing your rights as a law-abiding gun owner.
The Second Amendment ensures the rights of all Americans to keep and bear arms. But lawmakers have differing opinions on how that applies to the Michigan Capitol building and other public lands. This is especially true after armed protestors entered the state capitol last year.
Here’s what you need to know about the past, the present, and the future of legally carrying a firearm on the grounds of our state buildings and other government properties.
What Sparked the Change in Michigan?
Michigan is an open-carry state. The Capitol is not a prohibited place for concealed carry under MCL § 28.425o, or for open carry under MCL § 750.234d. As a result, no armed protestors were arrested last year for violating carry laws at the Capitol.
In response to the perceived danger of armed protestors in or around the Capitol building, Michigan’s Attorney General Dana Nessel wrote Opinion 7311, the purpose of which was to answer whether the Michigan State Capitol Commission has the authority to prohibit firearms in the areas under its control. Unsurprisingly, the Attorney General concluded that the Commission does have such authority. Then, on January 11, 2021, the Michigan State Capitol Commission voted 6-0 to adopt a new firearms policy precluding anyone other than law enforcement personnel and people with valid Concealed Pistol Licenses from carrying into the Capitol building. The Commission suggested that it would have liked to go further but cited budgetary concerns as the main impetus for not doing so.
Should You Be on Alert?
Yes! Governor Whitmer has proposed allocating $5 million of the $67 billion state budget to “improve capitol security” by financing security staffing and the purchase of metal detectors. The unstated purpose of this measure is to prevent all individuals, including lawful license holders, from being able to bring firearms into the Capitol building. As with the remaining budget, this allocation would need to be approved by the state’s Republican-led legislature. Essentially, tax dollars would be funding the governor’s gun control efforts.
Open carry at the Michigan Capitol is unlawful, but those with Concealed Pistol Licenses may still enter without concern. However, this could change—and LawShield members are encouraged to watch the news for policy changes later this year.
For any questions about carrying in and around government buildings, contact U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.
The information provided in this publication is intended to provide general information to individuals and is not legal advice. The information included in this publication may not be quoted or referred to in any other publication without the prior written consent of U.S. LawShield, to be given or withheld at our discretion. The information is not a substitute for, and does not replace the advice or representation of a licensed attorney. We strive to ensure the information included in this publication is accurate and current, however, no claim is made to the accuracy of the information and we are not responsible for any consequences that may result from the use of information in this publication. The use of this publication does not create an attorney-client relationship between U.S. LawShield, any independent program attorney, and any individual.