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Mich. Atty. General Nessel issues formal opinion that guns can be prohibited from the state capitol

Posted at 11:02 AM, May 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-11 11:02:28-04

LANSING, Mich. — After being told that her letter to the Michigan State Capitol Commission was “not formal,” state Attorney General Dana Nessel issued a formal opinion on Monday that said the same thing, that the commission has the power to ban guns from the Capitol.

“Members of our Legislature should not have to wear bulletproof vests or be escorted by armed guards in order to serve the People of this State,” Nessel said in a release.

“I firmly believe in the right to protest, the right to demonstrate, and the right to loudly and strongly object to those causes that move us,” Nessel said. "But it is also important to remember that the right to protest does not encompass the right to violence, or the right to harm those individuals with whom you disagree.”

A letter requesting action on the issue was sent to the AG on Saturday from House Democratic Leader Rep. Christine Grieg. In a reply, Nessel said she was “deeply troubled” when she saw protesters carrying assault rifles and other weapons on the Capitol grounds and inside the building.

“In Michigan, the concept of ‘open carry’ does not provide the unfettered right to bring firearms into any public space,” Nessel wrote in her opinion.

The Michigan State Capitol Commission manages the Capitol and its grounds. The commission consists of the two individuals appointed by the governor, two individuals appointed jointly by the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House of Representatives, plus the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House.