Open Carry Gun Laws and Public Schools
Two years ago, we tracked a piece of legislation addressing Michigan's "open carry" law in this post. Then, the issue was Governor Snyder's veto of expansive gun legislation in the wake of the Newtown, CN school massacre.
There is a so-called "loophole" in Michigan's gun laws which allows someone with a valid concealed pistol license to "open carry" a weapon on school grounds. Guns are otherwise banned on school property.
Today, the open carry "loophole" is back in the news as gun activists have staged incidents this week involving the display of their weapons in and around public schools; one incident was in Ann Arbor and the other was in Madison Heights. Both events caused grave concern among school administrators and local law enforcement and drew plenty of media attention.
Twice this week at Lamphere High School, a gun-toting activist -an unemployed former Marine- attempted to enter school grounds but was rebuffed by the Madison Heights PD. He sported a rifle slung on one shoulder, holstered a semi-automatic pistol, and had a video camera to record the ruckus strapped to his chest. For their part, school administrators, taking no chances, locked down the high school during the two incidents.
Meanwhile, at Ann Arbor's Pioneer High School, a gun activist attended a school concert with a pistol strapped to his side. This led to a packed meeting of the Ann Arbor school board and the passage of a strongly-worded resolution calling for legislators to close this loophole.
In our free society, there are always going to be individuals that test the limits of our rights. With all of the school shootings that have occurred over the past few decades, these recent events highlight the intersection between basic school safety and our constitutional right to bear arms.
We here at the Law Blogger believe that, considering the hundreds of children that have been shot at, wounded and killed at their schools, perhaps our state legislature should act to close this loophole. We believe that public safety concerns outweigh the right to bear arms on school grounds and that these valid concerns justify a properly tailored restriction to the open carry laws.