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Yesterday, armed protesters, including members of the Michigan Militia and Michigan Proud Boys, attended a demonstration at the Michigan Capitol intended as a protest of the stay-at-home orders that Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19. According to Michigan Advance’s reporting, “cries to fire Whitmer and expand gun rights overpowered calls to get back to work.” 

The Michigan Advance reported: “A symphony of car horns mixed with ‘God Bless the USA,’ as people yelled out of their cars: ‘She’s [Whitmer] the reason we need the 2nd amendment.’ One protestor carried around a doll in a noose and said that it was meant to symbolize the governor.” One photo shows a Confederate flag with an AR-15 and the phrase, “Come and Take It.”

According to reporting, protesters ignored guidance from health experts on how to prevent the spread of the virus, such as staying 6 feet apart and wearing masks in public spaces. The Detroit Free Press reported estimates of “100 to 150 people on the Capitol lawn” and that “many on the sidewalks were passing close to each other, and most were not wearing masks.” According to the Washington Post, Gov. Whitmer responded saying, “the protesters might have just made the situation worse in a state already dealing with more than 28,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus, the third-worst in the nation.”

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It was also reported that the protest blocked access to the hospital: “traffic was backed up a half-mile away at Sparrow Hospital, the only Level 1 trauma center in the region…. However, several ambulances had difficulty pushing through the traffic in late morning and the early afternoon.” NRA board members have accused Gov. Whitmer of tyranny for following guidance by health experts to slow the spread of the virus. Willes Lee and Bob Barr applauded the demonstration on Twitter. Barr wrote, “Finally people are standing up to mini-despots like Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.” 

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. www.everytown.org