- Patrice Johnson
CALL TO ACTION: Send letter. Prof. David Raney addresses Legislature's assault on free speech & 2A
Updated: Feb 27
Published February 24, 2023. Revised Feb. 27, 2023
Michigan's Legislature is moving to chill citizen voices at election locations. Using vague and undefined terms like "feelings," "harassing," and "intimidating," a litany of cosponsoring Democrats is attempting to insulate election offices from citizen oversight. If enacted into law, public elections officials could simply say they feel intimidated or harassed, and law enforcement will charge watchdog citizens with a felony. In addition, bills were introduced to ban guns within 100 feet of drop boxes, polling places, and locations in which absentee ballots are counted.
We need to make our voices heard.
I contacted one of Michigan's foremost authorities on the Second Amendment, David Raney, Ph.D., and the professor at Hillsdale College was quick to respond. Here are clips from his reply:
I very much appreciate what PIME and MFE are doing to combat these terrible anti-gun bills. At the stroke of a pen, we could end up with some of the worst gun control laws in the nation. I have been encouraging my associates to focus on contacting Democrat legislators from “toss-up” districts and those that have a large rural and/or blue collar/union composition. That said, I would also recommend that EVERYONE contact THEIR OWN state senators and representatives as well. Of course, most Democrats will not be with us on these bills, but some might be with enough proper persuasion.
We need to make it more difficult for all legislators (Democrats and Republicans alike) to vote to abridge our firearms rights—or to vocally support such restrictions. Things are so tight in the legislature that every effort counts.
PIME drafted the sample letter below, modified from additional portions of Professor Raney’s insightful response. Please take this message and make it your own. A link to identify and reach out to your state representatives is below. Also linked to this message is a list of the vulnerable Democrat representatives who need to hear from us. Republicans tend to oppose this legislation, and they need to hear your support of their efforts.
Professor Raney was nominated for a seat on the NRA board of directors this cycle, and the mail-in balloting has commenced. All NRA life members and members for five or more consecutive years are eligible to vote. Qualified voters should have received a ballot in the February issue of their NRA magazines. Please share this information with your friends and associates as appropriate.
SAMPLE MESSAGE TO SEND
Dear Honorable Representative __________:
As a member of Pure Integrity for Michigan Elections, I am writing to urge you to vote No on and to vigorously oppose several previously failed bills that threaten to undermine election integrity and your constituents’ constitutional and unalienable rights.
The Supreme Court has ruled on this subject. The recent Bruen decision by the U.S. Supreme Court disallows states from prohibiting the bearing of firearms in public, unless such a prohibition applies to a limited number of “sensitive places” such as courthouses and schools. In his opinion, Justice Thomas made it clear that states must not abuse the “sensitive places” exemption by applying it too broadly. The proposed legislation, at a bare minimum, abuses this “sensitive places” exemption for the reasons that PIME and the Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners (MCRGO) have made plain.
H.B. 4128. Two basic shortcomings render this a BAD BILL (other than the common-sense fact that bad guys routinely ignore “gun free” zones). First, section 3 does not provide an exemption for Concealed Pistol License (CPL) holders—an exemption that is granted for other “sensitive places” in section 2(c).
If preventing “intimidation” is the purported goal of this bill, how could an invisible concealed firearm intimidate anyone?
Second, the arbitrary 100 feet standard would probably run afoul of property rights. One can only imagine how many homes/private property parcels are situated “within 100 feet from any entrance to an absent voter counting place.” Would it be constitutional to deprive the owners of those homes/private property parcels of their Second Amendment/Fourteenth Amendment rights? Of course, the short and certain answer is no. H.B. 4127 exempts nearby homeowners within their domiciles, but H.B. 4128 does not.
H.B. 4129. One of this bill’s shortcomings includes its lack of definition for the words “harassing” and “harassed.” Under this provision, peaceful and lawful protests of various kinds could be labeled and portrayed as harassing conduct and thus punishable as a felony. Enactment would abridge our First Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment protections of free speech and freedom of assembly.
HB 4127 suffers from most of the ills listed above. It would prohibit citizens, while the polls are open on an election day, from possessing a firearm in a polling place or within 100 feet from any entrance to a building in which a polling place is located. Beginning on the second Saturday before an election and ending on the Sunday before the election, it would prohibit the possession of a firearm at an early voting site within 100 feet from any entrance to an early voting site. For 40 days before an election, no citizen could possess a firearm within 100 feet from any absent voter ballot drop box, which due to the passage of Prop. 2 will be located practically everywhere.
Please vote no on these bills. If you are unable to kill these objectionable bills outright, please make sure that the word “possession” is replaced with “brandishing” firearms in the “sensitive places” mentioned.
Express your opposition and stand tall for our constitutional rights.
[Insert your name, address, and phone number here]
Find your state representative: https://www.house.mi.gov/Index
Find your state senator:
Gun-control bills referred to the House Elections committee.
Here is HB 4127: Gun-control drop boxes
Bolded and crossed-out language are proposed changes to existing law
Penelope Tsernoglou (district 75) Stephanie Young, Kara Hope, Carrie Rheingans, Mike McFall, Samantha Steckloff, Joey Andrews, Natalie Price, Jason Hoskins, Betsy Coffia, Will Snyder, Felicia Brabec, Jennifer Conlin, Jim Haadsma, Denise Mentzer, Noah Arbit, Dylan Wegela, Jimmie Wilson Jr., Kelly Breen, Tullio Liberati, Erin Byrnes, Reggie Miller, Jason Morgan, Julie Brixie, Carol Glanville, Jasper Martus, Rachel Hood, Phil Skaggs, Christine Morse, Jaime Churches, Regina Weiss, Julie Rogers, Donavan McKinney, Amos O'Neal, Abraham Aiyash
HOUSE BILL NO. 4127
A bill to amend 1931 PA 328, entitled "The Michigan penal code," by amending section 234d (MCL 750.234d), as amended by 1994 PA 158.
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN ENACT:
Sec. 234d. (1) Except as provided in subsection (2), a person shall not possess a firearm on the premises of any of the following:
(a) A depository financial institution or a subsidiary or affiliate of a depository financial institution.
(b) A church or other house of religious worship.
(c) A court.
(d) A theatre.
(e) A sports arena.
(f) A day care center.
(g) A hospital.
(h) An establishment licensed under the Michigan liquor control act, Act No. 8 of the Public Acts of the Extra Session of 1933, being sections 436.1 to 436.58 of the Michigan Compiled Laws.code of 1998, 1998 PA 58, MCL 436.1101 to 436.2303.
(2) This section Subsection (1) does not apply to any of the following:
(a) A person who owns, or is employed by or contracted by, an entity described in subsection (1) if the possession of that firearm is to provide security services for that entity.
(b) A peace officer.
(c) A person licensed by this state or another state to carry a concealed weapon.
(d) A person who possesses a firearm on the premises of an entity described in subsection (1) if that possession is with the permission of the owner or an agent of the owner of that entity.
(3) Except as provided in subsection (4), a person shall not do any of the following:
(a) While the polls are open on an election day, possess a firearm in a polling place or within 100 feet from any entrance to a building in which a polling place is located.
(b) Beginning on the second Saturday before an election and ending on the Sunday before the election, possess a firearm at an early voting site described in section 4 of article II of the state constitution of 1963 or within 100 feet from any entrance to a building in which an early voting site is located.
(c) For 40 days before an election, possess a firearm within 100 feet from any absent voter ballot drop box.
(4) Subsection (3) does not apply to any of the following:
(a) A uniformed law enforcement officer acting in the course of the officer's duties.
(b) An individual who possesses a firearm in that individual's residence.
(5) (3) A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 90 days or a fine of not more than $100.00, or both.