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Security improvements mark priorities for Lansing capitol commission

Lester Graham
Michigan Public Radio Network

The group that oversees operations at Michigan’s state capitol is eying potential changes to its security policies.

In 2020, protesters brought long guns into the state capitol. The next year, the group that oversees building operations voted to ban the open carry of firearms there but continued to allow concealed weapons with a license.

Now, the Capitol Commission has many new members. Commissioner Tim Bowlin says “any security issue” will be on the table.

“It’s a matter of cost. It’s a matter of functionality," Bowlin said. "It’s about providing the visitors and the tenants of this building a secure and safe environment. When you put millions of dollars into the building, you also want to protect the building as well.”

Capitol Commission chair Bill Kandler says current talks include the possible addition of metal detectors.

"I don’t think anybody likes the idea but everybody’s aware that’s something we may have to consider," Kandler said. "The political environment here has just changed. It’s a whole concept of political violence is something that we always thought we’d read about in banana republics around the world. And now we’re experiencing it here. We’re a bad example for the world now."

The commission previously reached a compromise to ban the open carry of firearms from the capitol. But it allowed concealed carry with a license.

Two-thirds of that group have since moved on.