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Making a point

Iron Mountain state Rep. LaFave brings firearm to State of the State address to demonstrate support for Second Amendment

State Rep. Beau LaFave, R-Iron Mountain, is seen carrying an “AR style pistol” in the State Capitol Building for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s State of the State address. (Photo courtesy of Beau LaFave)

MARQUETTE — State Rep. Beau LaFave, R-Iron Mountain, openly carried a firearm in Michigan’s Capitol building Jan. 29 during Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s State of the State address. Subsequently, two guns were stolen from his Lansing home just days later.

In a Facebook post, LaFave said his reason for doing so was “to protest Governor Whitmer’s proposed unconstitutional gun laws. If she wants to disarm law-abiding Michiganders, she can start with me.”

The gun he carried with him onto the House floor that day was an “AR style pistol chambered in 9 mm,” he said. Under the Obama Administration, carrying this gun was considered a felony while under the Trump Administration the gun is classified as a pistol, he added.

LaFave has open carried multiple times in the state House and state Capitol building.

“Since our governor is pushing radically unconstitutional gun-control laws, I thought this would be an opportunity to demonstrate to our governor that there are law-abiding Michiganders who regularly carry and it might not be a good idea politically to push those kinds of bills,” the Upper Peninsula legislator said.

Specific legislation such as red flag laws and magazine restrictions, he noted, are unconstitutional.

According to the Michigan State Police State Security Operations Section, there are no metal detectors at the Capitol building and it is lawful for individuals to open carry in the common areas.

LaFave said a member of the public or legislator can open carry on the House floor just as for state Rep. Scott Dianda did a few years ago.

“I really wanted folks to realize that this is their building as much as it is mine,” he said. “Their taxes pay for this building. It’s open to the public and just because you exercise your Second Amendment, our Article One, Section Six Michigan constitutional right to keep and bear arms, that does not preclude you from talking with lawmakers in their chamber.”

Just a couple days after the State of the State address, LaFave’s Lansing home, which he calls the U.P. embassy, was broken into using a rock. Two firearms, including the gun he brought with him to the House floor, and $25 were stolen. He immediately called the police to investigate. According to LaFave, a neighbor of his had seen another neighbor casing the house a few days prior to the incident.

“Two days after I told the governor if she wanted my guns she could come and take them, somebody took me up on my offer,” he said. “I think it further illustrates the need for law-abiding citizens to carry and possess weapons because it’s clear that nothing will stop the bad guys from getting a hold of guns. For me, it further illustrates why the Second Amendment is so important for law-abiding citizens and why gun control laws promoted by folks like the governor are completely ineffective because the bad guys don’t care about laws. That’s why they’re criminals.”

In response to LaFave’s decision to open carry during the State of the State address, Rep. Sara Cambensy, D-Marquette, said, “Like my other U.P. representatives and senators, I support our Second Amendment and the rights of people to conceal or open carry in the state of Michigan. While many elected officials carry in the House or Senate chambers every day, pistols and handguns are more the norm for what we see. Knowing there were several other representatives carrying that evening who are just as passionate as Rep. LaFave, my money is on them to get a seat at the table with the governor to discuss her views on gun legislation,” she said.

She added, “Yes, he got a lot of attention. However, the way you choose to lead on controversial issues can make all the difference in whether you are successful or not.”

The day following the State of the State address, the 906 Dems released a statement on the effects of gun violence.

The 906 Dems Communications Chair Mari Negro said that the entire nation is being affected by gun violence and, “It’s time we say, ‘enough.'”

“Our children fear going to school and have to endure active shooter drills in their classrooms. Many people are afraid to congregate at festivals, places of worship, shopping malls and concerts, places that have become common targets,” Negro said in the release. “No one feels safe anywhere and the sad reality — they shouldn’t.”

Negro added that LaFave’s decision to open carry was not an expression of his rights and that politicians should hold themselves to a higher standard.

“There are very few of us, Democrats or Republicans alike, that don’t believe in the Second Amendment, the right to bear and own arms,” Negro said in the release. “However, the real issue here isn’t about expressing a right. This is about intimidation and a childish attempt to incite, ‘Enough.'”

The group declared LaFave’s actions “immature” and “inappropriate” and demanded he apologize to his constituents.

Trinity Carey can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. Her email address is tcarey@miningjournal.net.

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