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Michigan mayor: Within the state Capitol, guns won't be 'a problem' on Inauguration Day

Sibile Marcellus
·Reporter
·2 min read

Two weeks after the deadly Capitol riots on Jan. 6, state capitals across the country are keeping an eye on planned peaceful protests of incoming President Joe Biden’s inauguration in the event that they, too, turn deadly.

“We’re coordinating with our state police,” Lansing, Mich., Mayor Andy Schor told Yahoo Finance. “I’ve made a request to the governor for a National Guard, so we will have National Guard folks here. We’re still hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst.”

The first major inauguration-related security test for Lansing came on Jan. 17 when a small group of armed people gathered at the state Capitol building, in spite of the heightened security presence. They left without incident, but officials have no plans to loosen security restrictions over the next couple of days.

Schor said lawmakers plan to be in session during Biden’s inauguration. “I’m sure there are some senators and representatives who are not comfortable with that. And I’m sure that there are some who are. We work with their legislative leadership based on what they intend to do and we support the state police in that area,” he said.

Men with rifles stand outside the State Capitol, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021, in Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Men with rifles stand outside the State Capitol, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021, in Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Although residents can legally carry guns in public in Michigan, state lawmakers unanimously banned the open carry of firearms inside the Capitol on Jan. 11.

“Less guns is better. Less chance for an accident, less chance for someone stealing a gun,” said Schor. “So there’ll still be people walking around, openly carrying guns all throughout our downtown, but at least within the Capitol that won’t be a problem.”

With the increased security costs related to the inauguration, Schor is hopeful that Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus plan, which would include $350 billion for local and state governments, will be approved by Congress soon.

“I’m very excited because up until now we’ve gotten zero. The House of Representatives last year passed a bill, and then the U.S. Senate removed that money, so we’ve gotten zero. So the $350 billion would be tremendously helpful,” Schor said.

The pandemic has crushed local economies and forced budget cuts and tax increases in many states that have fared poorly. State tax collections for March through August 2020 were 6.4% less than in the same months of 2019, on average. In normal times, tax collections would have grown from 2% to 3%, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

“Cities are struggling right now,” said Schor. “We are having an economic crisis as a result of the pandemic. And we’re putting money out for policing, and for fire, and for paramedics, and for assistance.”

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