house resolution no.128

Rep. Carra offered the following resolution:

A resolution to reaffirm the state of Michigan’s commitment to upholding the Article I, Section 6 right to self-defense.

Whereas, The right to use force in self-defense is one of the pillars of our society. In ideal circumstances, self-defense would never be necessary; people would never seek to harm the persons or property of others, or law enforcement would always be available when people resort to violence. However, in reality, this is not always the case. There are times when we are faced with the threat of imminent harm or death, and it becomes reasonably necessary to use force, even deadly force, to protect ourselves. This right is so essential that we have enshrined it in Article I, Section 6 of the Michigan Constitution, which states: “Every person has a right to keep and bear arms for the defense of himself and the state”; and

Whereas, The events in Kenosha, Wisconsin in the summer of 2020 and the case of Kyle Rittenhouse provide a clear example of the ongoing importance of the right to self-defense. On August 23, 2020, Jacob Blake was shot by police officers in Kenosha after refusing arrest, triggering protests and riots across the city. The police and National Guard were overwhelmed by the rioters, who ultimately burned or damaged more than 100 businesses and caused an estimated $50 million in damage to private property. As law enforcement was failing to protect individuals and private property, some individuals, such as Kyle Rittenhouse, attempted to assist the police. On the night of August 25, Mr. Rittenhouse was defending small businesses in Kenosha when he was chased into a used car lot by the rioters, including Joseph Rosenbaum. When Mr. Rosenbaum grabbed Mr. Rittenhouse’s AR-15, Mr. Rittenhouse shot and killed Mr. Rosenbaum in self-defense. Fleeing from the mob, Mr. Rittenhouse fell to the ground, where Anthony Huber struck Mr. Rittenhouse with a skateboard and Gaige Grosskreutz pointed a loaded pistol at him. Mr. Rittenhouse shot both men in self-defense, killing Mr. Huber and injuring Mr. Grosskreutz; and

Whereas, The aftermath of this case demonstrates the need to uphold and defend the right to self-defense, especially in times of political and racial tension. Following these events, Mr. Rittenhouse was immediately criticized by a hostile news media, and he was charged with and prosecuted for Wisconsin’s equivalent of first-degree murder. However, in November 2021, Mr. Rittenhouse was rightfully acquitted of all charges. Despite the controversy and political commentary surrounding the case, the jury did not find that Mr. Rittenhouse had acted unreasonably in using force to save his life. In extreme social unrest, law enforcement may be unable to protect individuals and communities, but the right to keep and bear arms to protect lives and property will endure to fill that gap, so long as we continue to recognize its importance; now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the House of Representatives, That we reaffirm the state of Michigan’s commitment to upholding the Article I, Section 6 right to self-defense.