Democrat Gov Whitmer Calls for Ban on Guns from Michigan State Capitol
Governor argues armed anti-lockdown protests put 'immense pressure' to lift measures
Michigan's Democrat governor, Gretchen Whitmer, is calling for a ban on guns from the state Capitol following armed protests against her draconian lockdown measures.
Gov. Whitmer wants to outlaw firearms from being taken into the state Capitol by law-abiding American citizens after anti-lockdown protesters exercised their constitutional "right of the people to keep and bear Arms."
In response, Whitmer told NBC News, during a wide-ranging interview, that she wants a bar on guns being carried at the Capitol.
Whitmer's calls come after a demonstration last week that saw armed militia protesters join a larger group in demanding that she reopen parts of the state's economy.
The protests spilled inside the Capitol building, where armed demonstrators were confronted by police officers.
Protesters wanted their voices heard as lawmakers debated an extension of Whitmer's emergency powers on the House floor.
Under current state law, it is legal to take firearms inside the Capitol, because Michigan is an open-carry state.
"There are legislators who are wearing bulletproof vests to go to work," Whitmer, a Democrat who is in her first term, told NBC News on Wednesday.
"No one should be intimidated by someone who's bringing in an assault rifle into their workplace.
"And so there is conversation about changing that law.
"I think it's long overdue, and I absolutely support that change.
"You shouldn't be intimidated going to be the voice of the people who elected you."
Whitmer argued that the protesters were "a relatively small group" who were "loud" and "made an impression" but were "not representative of the general public in Michigan."
The Michigan Capitol Commission sought legal advice this week about whether guns could be banned inside the Capitol.
Republicans control both the House and the Senate, making an anti-Second Amendment gun ban unlikely.
While Michigan is one of the states hit hardest by COVID-19, Whitmer has faced fierce backlash for her strict stay-at-home mandate, which she extended last month while easing some provisions.
President Donald Trump tweeted that Whitmer "should give a little, and put out the fire," calling the protesters "very good people" whom she should "make a deal" with.
As states across the nation have either launched their initial phase of reopening or plan to do so soon, including Michigan, Whitmer complained that she and other governors are feeling the heat from those who are demanding that parts of the economy begin to reopen.
"There's no question that there's intense pressure to reopen, whether it's coming from the White House or the people of our state, and that's playing out all across the country," she said.
"We are Americans. We are used to having our freedoms, and I think in this moment we've had to ask people to make sacrifice, and people are getting weary of it.
"And yet we know that the data tells us COVID-19 is still a very real threat in this country, all across the country," Whitmer continued.
"So while we've been able to achieve some flattening of the curve, we are by no means done with COVID-19, and that's why we've got to be really smart."