LANSING — State representatives Robert Wittenberg (D-Oak Park) and Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) introduced bills that would prohibit firearms in state-owned buildings and end the ban on political signs in those same buildings. The proposals would allow people to express their First Amendment while creating a safer and more secure environment in buildings such as the state Capitol.

“If two people show up at the Capitol, one armed with a rifle and one holding a sign, only one of them will be turned away — the person with the sign,” Rep. Moss said. “Signs aren’t designed to harm or kill, but apparently some politicians are afraid of them. Meanwhile, people who expect to be safe inside state buildings are often startled to see other visitors carrying rifles on their backs, or carrying handguns in holsters.”

Under federal law, firearms are banned in any federally owned building. Many other government buildings, including city halls and county courthouses, also ban weapons and employ the use of metal detectors to search for them. At the state Capitol, however, visitors with rifles are welcomed in, while people carrying signs are kept outside.

“There’s a reason deadly weapons are kept out of sensitive places such as courtrooms and airports,” Rep. Wittenberg said. “Our proposals would simply bring Michigan laws in line with federal rules and help ensure the safety of visitors to state buildings while protecting everyone’s right to free speech. I urge my colleagues to give their support to these common-sense proposals.”