By: IVAN PEREIRA, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — Eight months after armed militias and anti-lockdown protesters breached Michigan’s state Capitol, officials banned all open carry weapons from the statehouse.
The Michigan Capitol Commission voted unanimously Monday to ban these firearms from the Lansing building. Concealed weapons with permits will be still allowed.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and other state leaders have been calling for a change to the statehouse’s rules ever since the April 30 incident when armed men clashed with officers and intimidated elected officials who were meeting on the state’s coronavirus emergency rules. The siege took place days after President Trump tweeted “LIBERATE MICHIGAN.”
Whitmer, who was the subject of a failed kidnapping plot by men who allegedly helped to plan those demonstrations, said it was important to tighten security in the state Capitol following last week’s raid of the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters that resulted in the deaths of an officer and four people.
“This cannot stand. We must take immediate action to protect everyone who steps foot in our state Capitol,” she said in a statement.
On Monday, the FBI sent out an internal bulletin, warning that armed protests are being planned at all 50 state capitols from Jan. 16 through at least Jan. 20.
Federal law enforcement officials have advised police agencies to increase their security posture at statehouses around the country following the riot at the U.S. Capitol, law enforcement sources told ABC News.
In October, the FBI arrested seven men who plotted to kidnap Whitmer and other officials and take them hostage at the state Capitol. The suspects were linked to the militia group called the “Wolverine Watchmen” who were at several protests including the April 30 incident, according to the authorities.
Whitmer called on the commission to consider more safeguards that would prevent weapons in the statehouse.
“On a normal day, hundreds of people walk through the Capitol, including groups of fourth graders, teachers, and parents on school field trips to learn about state government,” she said in a statement. “That’s why we must take action to ban all weapons at the Capitol to keep Michiganders safe.”
ABC News’ Whitney Lloyd contributed to this report.
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