Michigan Home Guard militia members at the Second Amendment March at the Capitol, Sept. 17, 2020 | Laina G. Stebbins
The decade-long tradition continues as the Second Amendment March at the Michigan Capitol is back on — after the group who hosts it each year said it was canceled in May.
“We just rethought it, that’s all,” said Skip Coryell, founder of Second Amendment March, which hosts the annual event.
Last month, gun rights groups held what was supposed to be an alternative to the Capitol march in Ionia featuring Kyle Rittenhouse, who at 17 years old shot and killed two men and wounded a third during the civil unrest in summer 2020 in Kenosha, Wisc.
The new event is scheduled to take place on the Capitol Building lawn from 11 a.m. to noon Oct. 5, when the Legislature is scheduled to be in session.
The reconsideration of the event comes as a full weapons ban is being crafted for the Michigan Capitol Building by members of the Michigan Capitol Commission, which creates policies for the upkeep of the Capitol grounds. At its meeting Monday, members announced that pass-through technology to detect weapons at the entrances will be installed next week, with an all out ban on weapons inside the building, except those carried by Capitol security, to be enforced by Labor Day.
“The timing is suspicious,” Coryell said, as the group has typically planned the Second Amendment March for September in recent years, “It’s obvious that they don’t want us there.”
The state date for the ban coincides with the return of lawmakers from summer break, as well as the return of many students who frequent the building on field trips, Capitol Commission Executive Director Rob Blackshaw said Monday. He added that between 250,000 and 300,000 students visit the Capitol Building annually, not including walk-in visitors and the weapons ban aims to limit the possibility of “catastrophe.”
Commission Chair William Kandler told the Advance that schools are notified if there will be armed gatherings at the Capitol on the day of their visit, but he couldn’t recall if a school has ever canceled due to an armed presence.
The march hasn’t gotten significant turnout in the last few years, going from as many as 1,400 attendees down to 100 or 200 attendees, Coryell said. He had been worried that if the commission had extended the ban to include the Capitol lawn — which it didn’t — that no one would come as open carry is very important for many attendees.
“I’m glad they’re not doing that. Not happy about what they have done,” Coryell said. “It shouldn’t impact us too much other than we’ll have to go someplace else to go to the bathroom, that’s all.”
Kandler said he wishes the ban could be extended to the lawn, but unlike the ban in the building where the entrances can be monitored, a ban on the lawn would not be enforceable.
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