Special panel formed to study Michigan Capitol gun ban; meeting draws threats

Special panel formed to study Michigan Capitol gun ban; meeting draws threats

Lansing — A commission empowered by Michigan’s attorney general to decide whether to ban guns inside the Capitol adjourned its Monday meeting, citing online threats it was receiving, but not before voting to form a special committee to study its authority. The Michigan Capitol Commission met a couple of hours after Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel issued a formal opinion that commission members had unilateral power to ban firearms inside the Capitol. The panel abruptly ended its meeting before taking public comments for "public safety" reasons. Some commissioners have said they think they need the approval of the GOP-controlled Legislature to impose such a ban. The call for banning firearms inside the Capitol came after an April 30 protest against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home restrictions to combat COVID-19 in which armed protesters openly carried firearms into the Capitol and showed them in the gallery above assembled lawmakers. The armed demonstrators generated national attention, were condemned by conservative Fox News host Sean Hannity and prompted some legislators to say they felt the protesters were trying to intimidate them. Commission member Margaret O’Brien, secretary of the Michigan Senate, said Monday’s virtual conference through which the meeting was being held was receiving threatening messages. "They were saying things like they knew where people lived," said John Truscott, vice chairman of the commission. Bill Kandler, a commission member who participated by phone, said he was told "very vulgar" and "very racist" comments were posted through the video application Zoom at the end of […]

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