Gun rights GOP state legislators push back on weapons ban at Capitol

A group of GOP pro-gun legislators is considering legislation to prohibit the state capitol commission from banning weapons in the state capitol building. That includes concealed weapons that some lawmakers want to carry onto the House and Senate floors.  

About 25 members of the Michigan State House and Senate 2nd Amendment Caucus held a private Zoom skull session Tuesday night.

They believe the State Capitol Commission overstepped its authority by proposing a weapons ban in the Capitol building.

The chair of the pro-gun caucus argues the Capitol Commission was originally established by the legislature to make decisions only about maintaining the building inside and out. And the panel was not authorized to render political decisions such as a weapons ban.

The Republicans argue that power rests only with the legislature.

"The legislature created the capitol commission and put in there exactly what the capitol commission was responsible for, and then we had the attorney general come in an expand that for political purposes," said State Rep. Phil Green (R). "It seems like the capitol commission was hijacked."

The commission has ordered the installation of pass-through devices to nab would-be gun carriers from coming into the State Capitol building with their weapons.

"We don't believe it is the right of the state or this Capitol Commission to do that," Green said.

The commission originally decided that lawmakers with legal concealed weapons permits would be banned from bringing them into the building. But now it appears the commission may lift that restriction.

But even if it does that, Rep.Green believes all these decisions should be made by lawmakers who are elected by the citizens. Not a commission appointed by the Democrats and the governor, who he alleges are abusing the system to advance their own agenda.

"Doing stuff through a commission stifles debate and takes the voice and will of the people out of the discussion," Green said. "So now because somebody has won an election, a party has won an election, they just get to jam through whatever they want."

But to remove power from the commission, Republicans would need Democratic votes.  And since the Democrat Attorney General Dana Nessel has ruled the commission has the authority - Democrats may not grant the GOP wishes.

Hence, Green and colleagues may have to go to court to take that power away.