National gun-control debate comes to Lansing

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Protesters rally at the Lansing capitol building Jan. 19 with signs in hand.  Photo: Chelsea Mongeau

Protesters rally at the Lansing capitol building Jan. 19 with signs in hand. Photo: Chelsea Mongeau

By Chelsea Mongeau

Lansing Star staff writer

LANSING – The national gun-control debate came to Lansing as part of a nationwide protest against a firearm bill.

A Facebook group called Guns Across America planned protests at every state capital January 19 against a bill introduced by California Sen. Dianne Feinstein. The Feinstein bill would ban 129 guns from being manufactured and sold, and could potentially add another 120.

Protests were organized in 49 state capitals on the same day, said Ryan Heberts, organizer of the Lansing protest and the Michigan Facebook Administrator for Guns Across America.

Future protests are in the planning stages for scheduled protests in March and April, though the official dates have not yet been made, said Guns Across America protester Michael Malone.  A coordinated protest with Second Right, another pro-gun organization, would be held on February 8 at the Lansing capitol building.

Heberts promised more protests from the group are coming to the capitol.

The organization originally had plans for every state capital, but plans for Alaska didn’t come through in time, Malone said.

Among the largest problems regarding the bill, according to Malone, is the reasons given for certain weapons to be on the list.

“The reason the [129 guns] are listed is probably because appearance,” Malone said.

A semi-automatic rifle listed on Feinstein’s banned weapons list, called AR-15, is identical in all except appearance to a rifle not included on Feinstein’s list called Ruger 14.

Malone cited a misinformed public as the reasoning behind the misconceptions.

“Guns are not dangerous, it’s the person behind the gun that makes them dangerous,” said manager of gun shop Classic Arms Co. Yvonne Evanoss-Joseph.  “They are used for hunting and sporting.  The fact remains that they are sporting rifles.”

Semi-automatic weapons only release one bullet every time the trigger is pulled, Evanoss-Joseph said.  Automatic weapons, or guns that release more than one bullet when the trigger is pulled, are banned from civilian use.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s list of firearms includes mostly semi-automatic weapons. Feinstein stated that the bill would not remove any firearms from the hands of gun owners who already purchased weapons on her list, however the sale and manufacturing of those weapons would become illegal.

Heberts promised that this would not be the last time Lansing would see them holding picket signs.

The complete list of firearms included in the Feinstein bill can be found here

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