Michigan governor wants to ban guns from capitol after armed protesters

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer talks effects of the intimidation: 'legislators who are wearing bulletproof vests to go to work'

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says she feels pressure to reopen the state of Michigan and has interjected stricter gun laws, banning fire arms from the capital.

Armed protesters provide security as demonstrators take part in an "American Patriot Rally," organized on April 30, 2020, by Michigan United for Liberty on the steps of the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, demanding the reopening of businesses. (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images)

Governor Gretchen Whitmer says she feels intense pressure to reopen the state of Michigan. And some of that pressure is coming from protestors who twice stormed the state Capitol armed with rifles.

She also has interjected stricter gun laws into the conversation, pushing for the fire arms to be banned from the state capital. This moves conjures up opposition from state Republicans.

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In an interview with NBC News, the first-term governor said, “There are legislators who are wearing bulletproof vests to go to work,” she added, “No one should be intimidated by someone who’s bringing in an assault rifle into their workplace.”

“And so there is (a) conversation about changing that law. I think it’s long overdue, and I absolutely support that change. You shouldn’t be intimidated going to be the voice of the people who elected you.”

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer theGrio.com

DETROIT, MI – AUGUST 8: Gretchen Whitmer speaks with a reporter after a Democrat Unity Rally at the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

The gun-toting protestors sparked outrage across the country as they were seen screaming in the faces of police officers, refusing to practice social distancing, and were carrying signs with anti-immigration and anti-Semitic statements.

Whitmer said that the protestors were “not representative of the general public in Michigan.”

The state has been hard-hit by the coronavirus epidemic with over 45,000 cases and over 4,250 deaths.

Protestors try to enter the Michigan House of Representative chamber and are being kept out by the Michigan State Police after the American Patriot Rally organized by Michigan United for Liberty protest for the reopening of businesses on the steps of the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, Michigan on April 30, 2020. (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images)

While Whitmer and many of her Democratic colleagues may want to ban guns from the state Capitol, they may have a long road ahead to do so. The Michigan State Legislature is Republican-controlled. While some Republicans denounced the gun-toting protestors, many have stated that they are not interested in a ban.

The Michigan State House and Senate recently sued Whitmer stating that her extension of the state of emergency was unlawful. Michigan’s Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey accused the governor of, “unilaterally extend(ing) the emergency, and writ(ing) new executive orders.”

He said, “If left unchecked, the governor could extend her authority indefinitely. Michigan citizens cannot wait that long for a path forward to regain their lives and their livelihoods.”

READ MORE: Armed protestors storm Michigan Capitol over stay-at-home orders

In the NBC interview, Whitmer reiterated the pressure that she feels to reopen the state, but wants to be “smart,” in making the decision. “We are Americans,” she said, “We are used to having our freedoms, and I think in this moment we’ve had to ask people to make sacrifices, and people are getting weary of it.”

State of Emergency in Michigan has been extended through June 16, while the current Stay at Home order is set to expire on May 15.