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LaFave taking gun to State of the State irresponsible

EDITOR:

On Feb. 4, the members of the Menominee County Democratic Party met to discuss a variety of issues, including the upcoming Michigan presidential primary March 10 as well as the behavior of our state representative for the 108th District, Beau LaFave, during a joint session of the Michigan legislature Jan. 29. Both houses had assembled to hear Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s State of the State Address. Representative LaFave used this occasion to draw attention to himself by marching into the State Capitol Building with a semi-automatic weapon. He proceeded to proclaim that the Democrats were trying to take away both his guns and his seat in the state legislature.

At our meeting, we discussed this incident in great detail. We considered the act itself, the representative’s verbal accusations and the possible motivation(s) for such unconventional behavior. We came to the following consensus:

The overwhelming majority of us in the Upper Peninsula, whether we be Democrats, Republicans or Independents, believe in and practice the rights granted to us by the Second Amendment. We heartily endorse the right of every responsible, law-abiding citizen to possess firearms for hunting and/or self-protection. Responsible gun ownership has always been an integral part of our culture up here.

Our reaction to LaFave’s behavior has nothing at all to do with Second Amendment rights.

We are not questioning his or our own right to bear arms. What we do question, however, and in fact condemn, is the brandishing of any weapon in a crowded assembly hall. On that particular day, our capitol building was full of men, women and children, interested citizens who had come to hear what Gov. Whitmer had to say. Rep. LaFave’s behavior was self-serving, immature and completely irresponsible. Most of all, it was extremely dangerous. If he sees nothing wrong with displaying a weapon at such a public event, what might his take be on ushering the same“firepower” into a crowded school or athletic competition? We already fear for the safety of our children and grandchildren, and we are worried that LaFave’s antics have served to encourage other, less stable individuals to use their own weapons to “make a statement” at a public gathering.

LaFave’s irresponsible behavior was extremely dangerous for an additional reason; despite our best intentions, firearms can be seized and taken away from us by any ill-meaning individual –someone with the will and now the capacity to cause great harm. Ironically, LaFave’s own assault weapon, the very one he brandished in the capitol building, was stolen from his Lansing residence a few days later. Where is this firearm now? Who is in possession of it? And what should concern us most –what might they do with it?

Finally, such dangerously misguided behavior has caused us to question LaFave’s suitability for the office he holds. The voters of the 108th District placed their trust in him when he was elected in 2018. However, his spectacle at the state house suggests that he lacks both the responsibility and especially the maturity to represent us effectively. We respectfully ask the state leadership of both parties as well as the voters of our district to take notice.

Mari Negro

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