Officials in Flint, Michigan thought they'd come up with a cute and creative way to turn City Hall into a gun-free zone a few months ago by inviting the local court system to open up a satellite office in the building, but the move led to a lawsuit by Second Amendment advocates. Now a judge says that lawsuit can proceed, rejecting the city's request to dismiss the case.
Under Michigan law, city council chambers are open to concealed carry holders, while courthouses are not. Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley and other officials thought they'd found a way around that when they allocated space for the Genesee District Court to hold hearings at City Hall, but when activists sued last fall they were able to get some temporary relief thanks to a judge's temporary restraining that forced the city to take down its "No Guns Allowed" signs and metal detectors and continue to welcome concealed carry holders to the city council chambers.
The city's next move was to ask the judge to end the TRO and dismiss the lawsuit entirely, a request that was denied just a couple of days ago.
[Judge Brian S.] Pickell’s order this week says he found no federal or state law that explicitly provides the city with the right to regulate the “possession of pistols, other firearms, or pneumatic guns; ammunition for pistols or other firearms; or components of pistols or other firearms ... especially in connection with the attendance of a member of the public at an open meeting of a public body.”... The lawsuit, which is still pending before Pickell, also seeks a permanent injunction against the council, enjoining it from holding meetings subject to the OMA if members of the public are excluded based on their possession of guns and other weapons.
This may be a relatively small fight compared to the larger battles over "carry killer" legislation in states like California, New York, and Colorado, but it's still important that petty tyrants like Neeley be reminded that they don't have the authority to deprive lawful citizens of their Second Amendment right to bear arms during open meetings.
Honestly, Flint officials have much bigger things to worry about than concealed carry holders showing up at the city council chambers. Officials are still facing a lawsuit over the tainted water that was supplied to residents in 2014 and 2015, which contained elevated levels of lead, while violent crime is a continued concern for residents.
Flint police are investigating a fatal shooting that was reported hours after an unrelated homicide occurred less than 2 miles away.
Officials told MLive Wednesday that Jakie Davis, 18, was shot and killed at an apartment in the 900 block of West Genesee Street around 10:18 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 3.
No additional information was immediately available.
The homicide is Flint’s fourth of 2024, having occurred hours after two people were shot – including one fatally – about 1.5 miles away.
In that incident, a 34-year-old Flint man was killed while a 41-year-old Flint man was injured, police said.
Police haven't made any arrests in either of those cases, as far as I can tell, but I'd be willing to bet that if and when they take suspects into custody they won't have a valid concealed carry license in their possession.
Flint has a lot of issues, but Concealed Pistol License holders aren't among them. Neeley's attempt to ban them from city council chambers was a solution in search of a problem, and in a way, he found one as a result of his inept attempt to infringe on a fundamental right; a lawsuit that could have been avoided entirely if he'd simply respected the right to carry. His cheap political stunt may now end up costing the city in the long run, especially since the mayor and other officials have so far been unwilling to do the right thing and accept that their anti-gun efforts violate state law. Judge Pickell's decision to let the lawsuit proceed doesn't guarantee that the plaintiffs will be victorious, but with the judge already issuing a TRO to block the "gun-free zone" from being enforced, I'd say the odds are in their favor.