Two guns stolen during break-in at LaFave’s residence in Lansing
LANSING, Mich. — Just days after state Rep. Beau LaFave openly carried a gun at the state Capitol to protest Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s “proposed unconstitutional gun laws,” someone broke into his Lansing residence and stole it.
“The timing is suspicious,” the Iron Mountain Republican quipped Wednesday, quickly adding he doesn’t believe Whitmer had anything to do with the incident.
Nor does he believe he made himself a target by tweeting a photo of himself with the firearm outside the House chambers before Whitmer delivered her State of the State address Jan. 29.
“I personally believe this was just a random act of theft, that someone got lucky and I got unlucky.” LaFave said. “This just illustrates there are bad people out there who will do anything to get their hands on guns.”
The AR-style handgun LaFave wore at the Capitol, as well as a .40-caliber handgun, were stolen from a bedroom drawer in his residence on Lansing’s north side this past weekend, along with about $25 in cash that was lying on a kitchen counter, the lawmaker said.
Lansing police Public Information Officer Robert Merritt confirmed that “more than one weapon” was taken and that there were signs of forced entry.
A detective was making progress in the investigation, he said.
The burglary was reported about 7:30 p.m. Monday, Merritt said.
LaFave said he was in his 108th District — which covers Dickinson, Delta and Menominee counties — for the weekend. A staffer went to the Lansing house Sunday and left about 4 p.m., he said. The burglary was discovered about 4 p.m. Monday, he said.
Someone gained entry by “smashing through the windows” and reaching inside to open a door, he said.
LaFave said the guns were hidden in an underwear drawer and were not in a locked safe.
“I could have put them in a safe, hired 24-hour security, had security cameras all around and mounted a machine gun to the roof,” he said. “In this particular instance, I felt that it was reasonable that my house was locked.”
LaFave said he wanted to be able to access the guns quickly if he needed them. And although other people live at the house, they are “responsible adults,” he said.
The burglary “reaffirms” his commitment to upholding his and his constituents’ Second Amendment rights, he said. He also said he planned to install video doorbells to improve security.
Upper Peninsula Democrats, who were quick to criticize LaFave for posing with a gun at the Capitol, sent a statement Wednesday faulting him for failing to store the guns properly.
“A firearm should always be secure and ammunition stored separately so that they are not accessible by unauthorized users, including minors and thieves. These practices include locking guns in a secure place such as a gun safe or cabinet and using safety devices such as trigger or cable locks,” the group 906 Dems said in the statement.
“The theft of LaFave’s weapons from his Lansing home is not only a very loud and clear example of immaturity and irresponsible firearm safety, it should also serve as a reminder to all that bragging, boasting or otherwise displaying unnecessarily your firearms can also make you a target. Not knowing where these weapons have landed has put the public in danger,” 906 Dems stated.
LaFave said he finds it “disappointing” that Democrats “prefer to victim-blame,” and he rejected any assertions he acted irresponsibly.
“A lock on my guns certainly wouldn’t have deterred thieves, since the lock on my front door didn’t,” LaFave responded in an e-mailed statement Thursday. “I have the constitutional right to store my guns wherever I choose in my own house, and there’s obviously no need to apologize for that.
“Like many U.P. residents, I’m proud of my Second Amendment rights and I will not waiver just because my home was burglarized,” LaFave stated. “This experience only serves to strengthen my belief in personal protection.”
In the Lansing Journal story, LaFave said he had this message for any would-be burglars:
“They didn’t get all of the guns, and the UP embassy is not undefended,” he said. “They are going to be a lot harder to find next time if they want to come back. The UP embassy will never be without firearms.”
Daily News staff contributed to this article.