Pro-gun groups want Heartwell fired from Natural Resources post

Pro-gun groups want Heartwell fired from Natural Resources post

NEWAYGO, Mich. (WOOD) — These days, former Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell is about as far away from city life as one can get. Shortly after turning in his keys to city hall four years ago, he left Grand Rapids for a home on the Muskegon River near Newaygo, appropriate for his love of the outdoors. He also left the controversy that goes along with being a politician behind — or so he thought. “Controversy isn’t new to me, but this one caught me a bit by surprise,” Heartwell told News 8 Friday. His recent appointment by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer as chair of the state Natural Resources Commission has landed him back in the thick of things. The dust-up traces to his stance on gun rights. One controversy involved Heartwell’s attempt to ban open carry at Grand Rapids City Commission meetings in 2013. While he says he supports the Second Amendment, Heartwell was worried another constitutional guarantee, the right to free speech, would have been curtailed by the presence of guns at public meetings. “No responsible gun owner wear a badge that says, ‘I’m a responsible gun owner,’” Heartwell said. “An unarmed citizen in a meeting, seeing somebody with a gun, especially if they aren’t unfamiliar with firearms, can be intimated by that.” Second Amendment advocates want Heartwell off the commission. Groups like Great Lakes Gun Rights are calling for the state Senate to reject his appointment. In a statement to News 8, Great Lakes Gun Rights Executive Director […]

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