Capitol

(Brandon Smith/IPB News)

No one showed up Sunday for a “Stop The Steal” rally at the Indiana Statehouse despite FBI warnings of armed protests planned for all 50 state capitols.

(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Airbnb says it will review reservations in Lansing ahead of expected demonstrations at Michigan's state Capitol and may cancel bookings by anyone determined to be part of a hate group or who may have come to the city with violent intentions. The move comes as state government leaders across the U.S. prepare for potential protests ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration and follows the Jan. 6 storming of U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump.

Guard Activated At Michigan Capitol Amid Increased Security

Jan 15, 2021
(AP PHOTO/PAUL SANCYA, FILE)

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has activated the National Guard, the state police continues to augment its presence at the Capitol and crews will install a 6-foot fence around the 142-year-old building before potential protests ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration. Michigan State Police Col. Joe Gasper said Friday that an unknown number of demonstrators are expected to gather on the grounds Sunday, a week-and-a-half after the deadly siege at the U.S. Capitol.

OLIVIER DOULIERY / AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

On Wednesday, Jan. 6, pro-Trump extremists stormed the U.S. Capitol while Congress was attempting to certify the results of the 2020 election.

Elkhart County Republican Party Chairman Dan Holtz said he marched from the rally near the White House to the Capitol Building. He said since he stayed behind the barricades, he couldn’t see inside the building, but he did see a group of “hooligans” gathered on the steps.

 

Julio Cortez/AP

Updated at 3:33 p.m. ET

U.S. Capitol Police say they have locked down all buildings within the U.S. Capitol complex as violent supporters of President Trump have breached the Capitol building and continue to clash with police.

Police have alerted individuals to shelter in place, citing a "security threat inside the building."

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Republican ally of Trump's, confirmed on Fox News Wednesday afternoon that he heard on a Capitol Police radio that there were "shots fired" in the building.

"People are hurt," he said.

Legislative Offices In Michigan Closed Due To Threats As Electors Meet

Dec 14, 2020

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan legislative offices are closed because of credible threats of violence as presidential electors prepare to gather in the state Capitol to cast their votes for Democrat Joe Biden. The 16 electors will meet Monday afternoon in the Senate chamber Biden won the state by 154,000 votes, or 2.8 percentage points, over President Donald Trump. The Capitol building is closed to the public due to coronavirus restrictions.

Hair Cutting Protest Outside Michigan Capitol

May 20, 2020
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Police have ticketed seven people for cutting hair during a protest outside the Michigan Capitol, where about a dozen barbers and hair stylists defied stay-at-home orders to give free hair cuts. At one point, about 300 people attended Wednesday's demonstration organized by the Michigan Conservative Coalition to protest the measures imposed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to curb the coronavirus. Seven barbers have been cited for disorderly conduct after being warned by state police. The cases were referred to the state attorney general.

Panel Forms Committee To Review Issue Of Guns At Michigan Capitol

May 11, 2020
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A commission that oversees the Michigan Capitol has formed a committee to study whether to ban or restrict guns inside the building. The State Capitol Commission voted Monday to seek input from the Legislature and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. The move comes after some lawmakers reported feeling intimidated by armed demonstrators protesting her orders to curb the coronavirus. Attorney General Dana Nessel says the panel can legally prohibit firearms in the Capitol. But some commission members wanted time to study the issue.

Michigan AG Says Guns May Be Banned At Capitol In Lansing

May 7, 2020
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya File)

BREAKING: Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel says guns may be banned in the state Capitol. Nessel said so in a letter today (Fri) to the Michigan Capitol Commission. The commission sets rules for the public areas of the building. The commission has an online meeting scheduled for Monday.
 

This action is being considered after a large number of people carrying guns and dressed in para-military gear were among those who gathered for a protest last week at the Capitol.    (Read more below from a press release issued by the State of Michigan.) 

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has sent a letter to the Michigan State Capitol Commission confirming that the Commission has the legal authority to prohibit the presence of firearms in the state Capitol, if it chooses to do so. That authority is consistent with the current state of the law regarding firearms in public buildings and an informational letter sent to Speaker Chatfield in 2018. 

“The Capitol is a place for free expression of thought and debate. But the freedom of civil discourse does not imply the right to threaten others with harm or violence,” Nessel said. “In our current environment and as the chief law enforcement officer in this state, I am gravely concerned for the safety of both our legislative members and the public at large. 

“With exceptions to those tasked with protecting our Capitol, the only way to assure that a violent episode does not occur is to act in concert with the many other state legislatures around the nation that have banned firearms in their capital facilities. The employees at our Capitol and members of the public who visit are entitled to all the same protections as one would have at a courthouse and many other public venues. Public safety demands no less, and a lawmaker’s desire to speak freely without fear of violence requires action be taken.” 

The Commission, which manages the Capitol grounds and building, is made up of the Secretary of the Senate, the Clerk of the House of Representatives, two individuals jointly appointed by the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House, and two individuals appointed by the Governor.  

Nessel wrote in her letter to commissioners that the Commission has the legal authority to ensure the “safety of the visiting public, as well as those who carry out the People’s work by prohibiting firearms within the Capitol building.” 

The Attorney General notes that the regulation of firearms generally stems from state statute, but the prohibition of firearms from public spaces does not need to originate from the Legislature.  

The Michigan Supreme Court, for example, adopted an administrative order that bars firearms from any courtroom, office or other space used for official court business or by judicial employees without prior approval. That order applies to open carry of firearms as well, Nessel notes, as it was cited in a Court of Appeals decision in an open carry challenge to a school district prohibition of weapons on school grounds. 

“The concept of ‘open carry’ in Michigan law does not provide the unfettered right to bring firearms into any public space,” Nessel wrote in her letter. 

The Supreme Court also ruled that state law, which preempts regulations by local units of government, does not apply to school districts. Therefore, a non-local unit of government – such as a school district, the Supreme Court or the Michigan State Capitol Commission – may lawfully impose regulations that impact firearms. 

Nessel notes in her letter that residents are currently permitted to enter the Capitol while clad in body armor and armed with high-capacity loaded semi-automatic assault weapons. 

“This is permitted during active legislative sessions and during moments of controversial debate where emotions and passions are known to run hot,” she wrote. “At the risk of stating the obvious, this is an absurdly dangerous combination that would cause the heart of any security expert to skip a beat.” 

During recent protests at the Capitol, many residents have been carrying firearms leading lawmakers and other Capitol employees to express that they felt threatened and feared for their safety. 

Nessel’s position on restrictions to open carry and weapons possession is consistent with guidance provided to House leaders from the previous administration of the Attorney General’s office

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The late Sen. John McCain will be honored at an expansive ceremony at Washington's National Cathedral on Saturday. Former President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush will give remarks, along with McCain's longtime friend Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and several others. Three of McCain's children will give readings, and Renee Fleming will perform "Danny Boy" at the late senator's request.