LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — While Republicans controlled the Michigan Legislature, gun safety groups complained about never getting a hearing on the issue.
On Tuesday, there was a hearing at the Capitol discussing banning firearms at election polling locations and drop boxes.
The gun safety lobby is telling lawmakers that if somebody shows up while you are voting with an AR-15 rifle, that is wrong, and therefore all guns at polling places should be banned.
“If somebody is standing in line ready to vote and is in catalog with an AR-15, that is intimidation,” said Rep. Dylan Wegela.
But the pro-gun lobby was quick to assert that the mere presence of somebody with a gun is not intimidation, unless there is a threat to intimidate.
Tom Lambert is a lobbyist for Michigan Open Carry and spoke to the House Elections Committee on Tuesday.
“There is no one single example [of] how a firearm was used to do any of this or there is [an] existing law that would handle that with greater penalties than the ones you propose today,” Lambert said.
The creation of gun-free zones around voting drop boxes 40 days before an election is just one of almost a dozen so-called gun safety proposals now in the hopper, as the two sides in the gun debate try to influence lawmakers one way or the other.
Brendan Boudreau with Great Lakes Gun Rights called the election bills a problem in search of a solution that will send innocent gun owners to jail.
“These are dangerous and you will lend to otherwise law-abiding citizens ending up in jail for accidentally walking through one of these countless gun-free zones,” said Boudreau.
The sponsor of the proposals reports one out of six clerks reports being threatened and 77% believe the threats are on the rise.
Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey did not attend the hearing but told the committee that after the last election, she was confronted outside her home by a 6-foot-3, 250-pound man who told her he had been following her to work and asked why she allowed Trump to lose.
The man also told Winfrey that she is going to “pay dearly” for her “actions” in the 2020 election.
“He was approaching me in a threatening manner,” continued Winfrey. “I told him ‘I have COVID and I will spit on you.'”
The committee did not vote on the proposals but will at a later date.