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Proposal would make MI State Capitol a 'gun-free zone'

If two Michigan lawmakers have their way, there will be fewer locations in the state where people are allowed to carry firearms.

State Sen. Dayna Polehanki, D-Livonia, and state Sen. Rosemary Bayer, D-Beverly Hills, have introduced bills that would expand gun-free zones within the State Capitol complex.

Both have advocated for stricter gun laws in Michigan.

Senate Bills 857 and 858 would make it illegal to carry a firearm in the State Capitol building, the Binsfeld Senate Office Building, and the Anderson House Office Building - with an exception for legislators.

Ryan Bates, executive director of the group End Gun Violence Michigan, said he believes these proposals are much needed.

"We cannot have a functioning democracy at the barrel of a gun," said Bates. "So, it's incredibly important that we protect our legislators and protect our democracy from people who want to do it harm by bringing guns into the places where our laws are made."

If the gun-free zone bills become law, violators could face up to 90 days in jail, and or be fined.

During the highly publicized Oxford High School shooter trial, Polehanki took to social media to warn parents that if their child discharges a firearm and causes harm to themselves or others, the parent is going to jail.

Longtime firearms instructor and gun-rights advocate Rick Ector said he's all for responsible gun ownership - but not gun-free zones.

He argued that having law-abiding citizens carrying firearms in more places would inherently make these areas safer.

"People who have a concealed pistol license, who are primarily the people we're talking about," said Ector, "they are statistically more law-abiding than the law enforcement community, and they've gone through all the required, statutorily specified training."

Both bills have been assigned to the Senate Committee on Civil Rights, Judiciary and Public Safety.


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