In 1994, Libertarian Senate candidate Jon Coon held a rally on the Michigan capital steps. 10,000 people, many of them from the Michigan Militia, attended the event. Along with speakers such as Ted Nugent, Gary Stewart of Speak Out America, and Ray Southwell of the Michigan Militia. Hundreds of pounds of spent brass shell casings were donated and melted down into the above plaque. For 21 years, 2nd amendment fans have worked to get the Brass Roots plaque placed permanently on the Michigan capital lawn as a memorial for those who refuse to give up their guns.
The mid 1990s were a tumultuous time in the United States. After the 1993 standoff at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, and the bombing of the federal government building in Oklahoma City in 1995, many people believed the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms was going to take away people’s guns. This led to a blatant misinterpretation of the 2nd amendment of the U.S. Constitution and groups of people who liked wearing military gear and carrying guns began to pop up around the country. The Michigan Militia became infamous when the FBI and BATF arrived at a Decker farmhouse to arrest co-conspirators Terry and James Nichols, the brothers who assisted Timothy McVeigh in making the fertilizer bomb that destroyed the federal building in Oklahoma, and took McVeigh with them to at least one Michigan Militia meeting.
The new bill trying to get the plaque out of storage is HB 4240. Introduced on February 25, 2015, it is part of a bill amending the Michigan State Historic Site Act. This bill, like the bill introduced last year numbered HB 5595 is sponsored by Martin Howrylak. Last year’s bill never got out of committee.
In the 21 years since the plaque was made, not one law infringing on second amendment rights has happened in this state, or anywhere else in the United States. We can still buy and own guns despite the FBI and BATF existing. In fact, many of the laws that gave the BATF their teeth have been throttled by Republican politicians through NRA lobbying. In 2015 we have people carrying assault weapons into grocery stores and restaurants, insisting not allowing them to do so infringes on their 2nd amendment rights.
HB 4240 hopefully will end up just like previous bills to put this plaque created by the likes of Ted Nugent and the Michigan Militia on the lawn of our capital – mothballed.