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Local representatives speak out on guns

(John Rothwell/For the Gazette)

LANSING — Feeling that their constitutional rights are under attack, hundreds of gun rights advocates from around the state openly displayed firearms at the state capitol on Tuesday, while attending the 2019 Second Amendment March. This year’s speakers focused on the issues of right to open carry and red flag laws.

Carrying an AR-15 on the steps of the capitol, state Rep. Beau LaFave of Iron Mountain addressed the crowd by asking, “If you have to ask the government for permission, is that a right’?”

Michigan is one of thirty-one states that allows people to open carry a handgun or long gun without a permit.

While many retail establishment owners are asking customers not to open carry guns in their stores, LaFave is introducing a constitutional carry law into legislation. He believes that the Constitution of the United States is his permit to carry.

“If they are willing to guarantee to me that if I get shot by somebody that is not allowed to have a weapon because they disarm me at the front door, are they going to pay my hospital bills?” Lafave said. “They should be held liable in civil court.”

(John Rothwell/For the Gazette)

Marcialee Maynard of Gladstone, along with a dozen members of the Delta County Gun Owners Association made an almost eight-hour drive, showing their support for the Second Amendment March. Maynard’s position, like many in her group, is that she does not want to lose the right to defend herself or her family.

A package of red flag bills were introduced in the state house earlier this year including House Bill 4283, which would allow police to take someone’s weapons if family members or law enforcement convince a judge that they are an imminent threat. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a tweet earlier this week that she looks forward to signing such a measure into law. Seventeen other states have already approved similar legislation.

Joel Fulton, a resident of Battle Creek and co-owner of Freedom Firearms feels the premise of red flag laws, on the surface, is good.

“The problem is they come in without due process and take away somebody’s firearms and then that person has to prove themselves ‘fit’ to get their firearms back. It’s not proper jurisprudence and it eliminates the due process,” said Fulton.

State Rep. Gregory Markkanen is vehemently against any red flag laws, citing the need for better health services. Markkanen was rated 100% by Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners in 2018.

(John Rothwell/For the Gazette)

“We need to improve our mental health services,” Markkanen said. “We need to provide services for people that need help and I think that would resolve a lot of the issues.”

Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield issued a promise to the crowd. As long as he is Speaker of the House, he committed to preventing any bill that violates the public’s god-given right to self defense, and the right that is constitutionally secured to keep and bear arms, from passing the House chamber.

(John Rothwell/For the Gazette)

(John Rothwell/For the Gazette)

Rep. Beau LaFave stands on the steps of the capitol carrying a short-barreled, AR-style firearm. (John Rothwell/For the Gazette)

Marcialee Maynard of Gladstone, along with a dozen members of the Delta County Gun Owners Association made an almost eight-hour drive to show their support at the Second Amendment March. (John Rothwell/For the Gazette)

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