Guns in the Capitol Make a Mockery of the Second Amendment

OPINION by Brian Dickerson/Detroit Free Press

A week has passed since armed protesters jammed the streets of the Michigan capitol and made their way to the spectator gallery of the state senate chamber, worrying people around the country that Michigan’s government was under attack by a lawless militia.

Unfortunately, the current law protects these people, allowing them to carry weapons into the State Capitol, all while the current law also forbids them from carrying weapons into the state Supreme Court, the Secretary of State’s office, and the governor’s mansion.

Responsible gun owners should be leading the way to changing this law for the protection of gun owners, citizens, government, and the reputation of Michigan.

There was hope when a bipartisan Michigan Capitol Commission vice-chairman, a Republican, sought legal counsel about protesters bringing weapons inside the capitol.

“We do not like seeing guns brought into the building — loaded guns — and I’m a Second Amendment advocate,” John Truscott, a Republican who serves as the Capitol Commission’s vice chair, told radio host Dave Akerty in an interview on Lansing’s said WILS-AM Monday. “Everybody is disturbed, including me, about what we saw last week. 99.9% of the people in Michigan do the right thing, and it just takes a couple to upset it for everybody else and that’s what happened here.”

But the tune had changed one day later, when Truscott reiterated that it would take a legislative movement to change the law.

Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R) and House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R) both condemned the theatrics that took place, but shrugged off any threats or interest in tightening restrictions. According to Chatfield, you can’t allow the First Amendment rights without also allowing the Second. He seemed to forget that the Legislature already banned carrying signs inside the House and Senate galleries in fear that protesters would chip the paint of the ornate chambers.

But it’s precisely the Second Amendment advocates who insist that gun owners are a scrupulously law-abiding group who aren’t interested in menacing anyone that should be leading the campaign to make the Capitol a firearms-free zone. Because it’s their cause that’s being hijacked, and their image that’s being shredded, when strutting militia members dressed up like Halloween characters become the face of their movement.

Read the entirely of this opinion here at Detroit Free Press.