Capitol Commission avoids lawsuit, state lawmakers allowed to conceal carry inside state capitol

The Capitol Commission has averted a possible lawsuit after voting to allow state lawmakers to carry their concealed weapons into the state capitol. 

In the U.S. Capitol lawmakers who carry a concealed weapon are able to walk around the gun-detecting devices while everybody else has to pass through them. The same thing is about to happen in Lansing where the state Capitol Commission reversed itself and voted 4-2 to permit lawmakers with hidden weapons to enter the building along with police officers, the FBI, and some maintenance workers.

Michelle Hortenga was prepared to ask the courts to block the commission from installing a ban. Instead, she's pleased with the flip-flop.

"I won't complain. I will be very pleased if they turn their decision around to allow us to carry," she said.

Two of the commissioners voted to keep the ban suggesting that, since there are 148 lawmakers, theoretically all of them could have guns on the House and Senate floors and that's not good. The actual number of legislators who carry heat to work is not known but the estimate is between 20 and 30 on any given day.

The new weapons detectors are in place for the opening of the fall session just after Labor Day for school kids, other tourists, and the public to pass through.

But Hoitenga contends that the new policy gives lawmakers special treatment.

"I do have a little bit of an issue where legislators get special treatment and the people I serve won't be able to have self-protection," she said.

While there may be serious disagreement among lawmakers about whether it makes the House and Senate floors safer, the reality is - concealed guns will be allowed inside the capitol.