Mi GOP Supports gun rights, right? Nah The death of a perception...
Many of you may be aware that I was asked to disarm nearly a year and a half ago at the Michigan GOP State Convention. Just a few weeks ago (8/23/2014) at the Michigan GOP State Convention in Novi, my dear colleague and good friend Tom Lambert (Vice-President of Michigan Open Carry, Inc) followed in my footsteps of having my rights disregarded or minimized by the GOP.
A few days later a letter signed by the executives of Michigan’s three major state-wide firearm rights groups was dispatched to Bobby Schostak (Chairman of the MiGOP):
Robert Schostak, Chair
Michigan Republican Party
520 Seymour Avenue
Lansing, MI 48933
At last weekend’s Michigan Republican Convention at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, a number of delegates were told they were not allowed to carry firearms either openly or concealed. This opposition to their right to bear arms runs counter to fundamental Republican principals. We are asking for your assurance that firearms will be allowed to be carried in all future Republican state conventions.
The Sergeant at Arms working the convention told delegates carrying firearms that carrying in the Suburban Collection Showplace is not allowed because it is an entertainment facility with a seating capacity of 2,500 or more. When corrected by Sen. Mike Green (R-Mayville) the author of that section of law, the Sergeant stated the owner of the venue does not allow carry. This same Sergeant incorrectly claimed that the Lansing Center, a publicly owned venue, did not allow carry at the last convention. Publicly owned venues like the Lansing Center, are preempted from enforcing firearms bans by state law.
The right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental liberty protected by both the United State Constitution and the Michigan Constitution. Protecting that right is a key plank in the platform of the Republican Party. While privately owned venues, such as the Suburban Collection Showplace, have the right to ban firearms, the Michigan Republican Party has a responsibility to ensure than firearms bans will not be in effect for state conventions at those venues. Doing business with a private facility that prohibits the right to bear arms would be equivalent to hosting a convention at a private venue that forbids free speech or public prayer.
Adding insult to injury, it is our understanding that the Michigan Democratic Party allowed both open and concealed carry of firearms at its 2013 convention at the Cobo Center and its 2014 convention at the Lansing Center despite that party’s often adversarial positions on firearms rights.
Can you please assure Michigan’s three state gun groups and our tens of thousands of members including those who serve as Republican delegates, that both open and concealed carry will be permitted at all future Republican state conventions and that organizers of the conventions and Sergeants at Arms will be informed of this change?
Brady Schickinger, Executive Director, Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners
Phillip Hofmeister, President, Michigan Open Carry, Inc.
Mike Borders, President, Michigan Gun Owners
What was the reply? A pile of BS and a refusal to own the problem by the Chairman…
Brady, Phillip and Mike,
The Michigan Republican Party continues to be a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and Michigan’s open carry law. We support individuals who choose to lawfully open-carry at our events.
As I’m sure you can appreciate, there are only a handful of venues in the state that can accommodate a convention of more than 5,000 people with the quality our members and elected officials expect. Some of these venues are privately owned, and we must abide by their policies. I can assure you that whether or not a venue permits open-carry is an important consideration in our venue selection process, but there are many other factors as well.
I will make every effort to notify future leadership of your concerns, and I appreciate you reaching out to me directly on this. You have been a strong supporter of fundamental Republican values, and I look forward to working with you this fall to elect and reelect Republicans throughout the state.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if there’s anything else I can do for you.
As you can also see, he gave us no firm commitments that the problem will be resolved. Just political double-speak. What more would you expect from a politician like Bobby Schostak?
Bobby,I think we can all say this: with issues at the last two elections, we all look forward to your team putting words to action.With such a close leadership competition last February, I’m sure you’re cognizant that many within the party are seeking leadership and candidates that support traditional, conservative values — firearm rights amongst them.Of course, Michigan Open Carry, Inc is a non-partisan organization. We just find it ironic that the party who professes to back firearm rights has crossed us twice on as many occasions while in the same weekends the party of the anti-gunners has given people who have carried openly (and people have, on both occasions) no such problems.I look forward to the party leadership and its candidates more openly and publicly embracing the second amendment with words as well as deeds.Many voters vote single issue on the gun rights platform. I wonder what your party would be like if it were to lose the pro-gun perception?Phillip HofmeisterPresidentMichigan Open Carry, Inc.