LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Republican leaders in the state legislature plan to delay a decision on whether to ban guns in the Michigan Capitol until after the election.
Both open-carry and concealed weapons are currently allowed in the capitol, but armed demonstrations earlier this year led to renewed calls to ban weapons inside the building.
State Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and State House Speaker Lee Chatfield, both Republicans, say they have heard the concerns from their fellow lawmakers and are involved in an “ongoing conversation” about weapons in the people’s house.
Two weeks ago, they met privately with two members of the Capitol Commission and decided to delay a decision on the issue until after the election.
Speaker Chatfield denies that the delay is to prevent backlash from gun rights groups.
“I think it’s a little disingenuous to say that this is a campaign issue on why it is not getting done or is getting done right now,” he tells 6 News. “We’re still at the table.”
Speaker Chatfield says the discussion is focused on protecting lawmakers and the rights of citizens.
Democratic Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist, who presides over the State Senate, is in favor of banning guns from the capitol building.
“There is no place for semiautomatic weapons in the Michigan Capitol, or frankly in any lawmaking process,” he says. “The only reason you have it is to intimidate lawmakers.”