LANSING, MICH (WLNS) — A state representative is speaking out after she says she was forced to take down a sign on her office door.
Her sign asked that only law enforcement officials carry weapons inside.
Rep. Kara Hope, D-Holt, said she was trying to create a safe work environment, but the House Speaker Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, said the sign took away people’s Second Amendment rights and needed to come down.
Since Michigan’s open carry law does not list a state government building as one of the prohibited locations on which to bring a firearm, people are allowed to bring one into the Anderson House Office Building where Rep. Hope’s office is located.
However, people cannot post signs in the building, such as Rep. Hope’s ‘no gun’ sign. The Michigan State Capitol procedure states, “posting or affixing signs, announcements, or other documents on any exterior or interior wall, ceiling, floor, door, window or other surface of the public areas of the Capitol not designed for that purpose is prohibited.”
Rep. Hope released a statement in response to Chatfield’s request.
“The Speaker is forcing me to sacrifice the First Amendment rights of any constituent looking to enter my office and speak with their elected representative in an environment where they feel safe, and that is not something I should be asked to do. The sign was simply there in an effort to ensure the safety of anyone in my office on Sept. 10, the day of the Second Amendment rally. Given his history, I know Speaker Chatfield has a very casual, even careless attitude toward guns, but I do not share that attitude. Yet because the Speaker is the person who ultimately controls our office allotment — and therefore the resources I am able to use to serve my constituents — I feel as though I have no choice but to adhere to his demand.”
In response, Chatfield said, “a law that prohibits someone from entering because they are practicing their second amendment right is discriminatory, because of that it was unlawful. I’m glad she took the sign down.”
Chatfield is a member of the National Rifle Association and Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners, according to the Michigan House of Representatives page.
In August 2018, Chatfield was detained by the Transportation Security Administration at the Pellston Regional Airport after a handgun was found in his carry-on bag.
Emmet County Prosecuting Attorney James Linderman did not pursue criminal charges against Rep. Chatfield citing a defect in the state law.
Hope has been active in introducing legislation for gun safety. In June 2019, she introduced House Bill 4690 , which would improve safety at target ranges and shooting facilities. The bill would mandate that any person who rents a firearm is also legally allowed to possess a firearm.