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Everytown, Moms Demand Action: Armed Intimidation Never Has A Place In Political Debates – Especially During A Public Health Crisis

May 13, 2020

Ahead of Thursday’s Third Armed Demonstration At Michigan Statehouse, there have been Reports of Open Threats of Violence against Governor Whitmer and Police 

NEW YORK – Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown for Gun Safety, released the following statements after reports of open threats to police and graphic threats of violence against Governor Gretchen Whitmer in advance of a Michigan Capitol rally scheduled for Thursday. Heavily armed demonstrators have stormed the Capitol two weeks in a row to resist stay-at-home orders that Gov. Whitmer put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19. 

“Tomorrow, armed protestors who threatened the lives of the Michigan Governor and police officers will once again show up at the statehouse to protest stay-at-home orders. This is not political expression, it is armed intimidation,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “We are all making sacrifices, large and small, for the sake of public health. Showing up with long guns to intimidate and threaten lawmakers into reopening the state for their convenience is culturally reprehensible and undermines the democratic process.”

“We are staunchly opposed to open carry in the Capitol as a method of intimidating lawmakers,” said Jon Gold, a gun owner and firearms instructor, a volunteer with Michigan Moms Demand Action, and a member of the Everytown Survivor Network. “Armed intimidation has no place in our political debate, and it’s dangerous to normalize what we’re seeing by suggesting it’s just a form of political expression. The majority of Michiganders reject these reckless tactics and stand with our lawmakers standing up for public health.”

Anti-quarantine rallies across the country have the veneer of grassroots support, but in truth, they are well-coordinated intimidation efforts––fueled by dangerous rhetoric and encouragement from the NRA, and attended by some of the same extremists who took part in the deadly Charlottesville rally of 2017 and the Richmond gun rally of January 2020. The open carry of firearms in the Capitol––which is being used at these rallies as an intimidation tool––is not prohibited by Michigan law. Extremists have used similar intimidation tactics at the Charlottesville rally, the Richmond gun rally, and other protests

More than 1,000 people die by gun violence in Michigan every year. Statistics about gun violence in the state are available here, and information on how Michigan’s gun laws compare to other states’ overall is available here. Michigan Moms Demand Action volunteers are available for interviews.

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