Michigan State Capitol Commissioners voted unanimously to ban open carry inside public spaces in the Capitol building two days before the Michigan legislature is scheduled to meet for the first time this year.
The ban, effective immediately, will not apply to Michigan State Police troopers, Capitol security officers, sergeants-at-arms or licensed police officers who are properly identified and working in their official duty. Concealed carry is still allowed by people with valid concealed pistol licenses who are in compliance with state regulations.
Their decision is contentious but “relevant to the times that we’re in,” commissioner John Truscott said before Monday’s vote. .
Commissioners hastily scheduled the Monday meeting on Friday as the country reeled from a violent mob’s attack on the U.S. Capitol last week. “Open carry firearms in the Capitol” was the only topic they placed on the agenda.
Their unanimous support for an open carry ban was an about-face from September, when commissioners split 3-3 on a similar proposal. Commissioners John Truscott, Gary Randall and Margaret O’Brien reversed their September decision and joined Joan Bauer, Kerry Chartkoff and William Kandler in supporting the ban Monday.
Randall said he voted against the September proposal because he anticipated the legislature would take action on limiting firearms.
That didn’t happen and doesn’t appear likely in the upcoming term.
Incoming House Speaker Jason Wentworth, R-Clare, argued commissioners do not have authority to set a weapons policy and said he will be “looking at options for handling that moving forward,” his office said in a statement. He said troopers would be enforcing the open carry ban and asked everyone to respect it in the meantime.
Last year both Attorney General Dana Nessel and an attorney hired by the commission determined commissioners have the authority to set weapons policies in the building.