LANSING, Mich. (WLUC) - A U.P. legislator reaffirmed his stance on gun rights during Wednesday night's State of the State address by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in Lansing.
State Representative Beau LaFave (R-Iron Mountain) openly carried an AR-style pistol, chambered and 9 mm, during the event. He said he was doing it in response to Whitmer's proposed gun policies.
"The governor's radical gun confiscation policies are trying to disarm tons of law-abiding Michigan gun owners," said Rep. LaFave in a phone call with TV6. "...If she wants to take their guns, she'll have to start with me on the State Capitol floor."
Back in the Upper Peninsula, in response to LaFave's open carry, 906 Dems sent out a press release Thursday, saying that it was an attempt to "incite."
"There are very few of us, Democrats or Republicans alike, that don’t believe in the Second Amendment – the right to bear and own arms. However, the real issue here isn’t about expressing a right, this is about intimidation and a childish attempt to incite. 'Enough!'," the 906 Dems said in the release.
In response, LaFave said,"I find it peculiar, the press release that they sent out, the individual that wrote it, said there are a few of us who want to repeal the Second Amendment. I find it odd that others, anyone, would want to limit other Michigan citizens from exercising their rights granted in the Constitution."
The 906 Dems said openly carrying guns makes people more cautious about going out in public.
In the release, the group said, "Our children fear going to school and have to endure active shooter drills in their classrooms. Many people are afraid to congregate at festivals, places of worship, shopping malls and concerts – places that have become common targets. No one feels safe anywhere and the sad reality – they shouldn’t."
LaFave says he open carries so that people who are unfamiliar with guns can learn more.
"I know for a lot of folks, if you're not familiar, it can be off-putting to see that type of weapon," LaFave said. "That's why folks like me open carry. We want people to be able to ask questions. Firearms are tools for defense and it's very important we have the right to have them, to keep them and bear them. I've never seen an individual who open carries be harmed in any way."
LaFave told TV6 he hopes to continue to work on bipartisan legislation guaranteeing open carry laws.
LaFave's guest on the House floor for the State of the State address was Michigan State Police Iron Mountain Post Community Service Trooper, Geno Basanese, who LaFave said, was also openly carrying Wednesday night.
LaFave also said former State Representative Scott Dianda, a Democrat from Calumet, openly carried during his last term in office a few years ago. He says that open carry is not just something Republicans do.
Check out Rep. LaFave's Facebook post showing his open carry at the State of the State address, embedded below.