NewsLocal NewsMichigan


’It was a victory to ban open carry in the capitol’: Insurrection in DC led to changes in Lansing

Lansing Jan. 6 rally pic 4.jpg
Posted at 8:05 PM, Jan 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-07 14:35:23-05

LANSING, Mich. — The moment the Michigan Capitol Commission voted unanimously on Jan. 11, 2021 to ban open-carry firearms in the building, State Rep. Sarah Anthony was relieved.

“I feel good. I feel some sense of relief,” she said that day immediately following the vote. “As everyone echoed, it is a first step to ensuring the safety of every individual that in this building.”

Because, days prior, it was her colleagues' and other lawmakers' safety that was in question in Washington, D.C. when a mob stormed the Capitol building there.

“The day that that happened I remember being home, and when I was watching it, I was texting my colleagues and calling my colleagues who have served in the Legislature and they were just being re-traumatized by seeing the image of a Capitol building being stormed,” Anthony recalled during an interview with FOX 17 on Wednesday. “And, as I think back to that time, it’s still traumatizing.”

She said it was traumatizing for them because it reminded them of the mob that stormed their Capitol building in Lansing on April 30, 2020. In an interview that aired on PBS, Anthony stated she remembered texting her mom that day not knowing which text would be her last.

“I think my position as a state representative for the capitol city, I feel like I have a unique perspective because every day I’m thinking to myself, ‘Is someone going to follow me home?’” Anthony said. “I have a habit now of making sure I let my loved ones know when I’ve made it home safe.”

RELATED: Michigan political scientists reflect on significance of Jan. 6 insurrection

After April 30, Anthony and other Democrats began their effort to ban all firearms from the building. She said it’s a workplace for them and other people, and there’s often children inside touring the building.

However, she said the Republican party did not take action in the Legislature. So, they reached out to the Michigan Capitol Commission, a group of volunteers who oversee the maintenance and operations of the building.

“Being responsible for security and things like that is something that we never thought we had to deal with. So, that issue was thrust on us,” said John Truscott, vice chair of the commission. “We immediately started looking at what is going on in other state buildings, what are the security protocols, and what would be appropriate for the Capitol building given that it’s a working museum for the people of Michigan?”

Truscott said when the January 6th events occurred in D.C. he didn’t think of April 30. However, it did "move up their time frame" to make a decision about guns in the building.

That decision came on Jan. 11, 2021, and it was to ban open-carry firearms from the Capitol, a compromise that Anthony and others accepted.

Since then, local police got to work, she said.

“State police works with the people in the building. They’re the security force that’s responsible for our safety. We rely on them. We leave it to them,” Truscott said. “We have instituted some additional equipment, some additional security protocols. They’ve had additional training. They’re so good at what they do.”

Anthony agreed.

She praised the police for their efforts in implementing changes and conducting training for the staff to ultimately keep them and everyone else safe.

“My goal would be to have no firearms in the Capitol building, openly carried or concealed,” Anthony said. “It just doesn’t feel as though that is a place in which firearms should be welcomed. And so it was a victory to ban open carry in the capitol.”

RELATED: Where the United States stands one year after Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection

Follow FOX 17: Facebook - Twitter - Instagram - YouTube