Open carry is one of the more controversial notions within the firearm community. Should you or shouldn’t you are at the center of a lot of debates, and nothing is likely to be settled any time soon.
In Michigan, the debate over open carry is a little different as a couple of cases head to the state supreme court to determine whether open carry should be permissible on school grounds.
The State Supreme Court is set to hear arguments this week on a controversial issue involving guns at public schools. The high court will hear two cases Wednesday about whether a person has the right to openly carry on school grounds. Schools in Clio and Ann Arbor are at the center of this debate, but it affects schools across Michigan. Public schools want the right to set their own guidelines when it comes to open carry and concealed weapons in school buildings.
“Obviously, we don’t believe that individuals should open carry in our school unless they are uniformed officers of law enforcement,” says Fletcher Spears III, Superintendent of Clio Public Schools. “But the bigger issue behind this is the ability of school districts to create their own rules within the law.”
Gun advocates say that goes against their rights and state laws.
“State law allows people to lawfully possess fire arms at schools, says Tom Lambert, President of Michigan Open Carry.
Michigan Open Carry is the group suing Clio Schools for their right to openly carry on school property. It’s an issue that’s been making its way through the court system for years.
Michigan law does not allow people to possess a gun inside gun free school zones. But someone with a concealed permit can enter school property with a gun that’s openly holstered. That happened in 2015 at an Ann Arbor High School, the school board responded by banning all guns except for police.
I’ve voiced my opinion on open carry before. Let’s just say I’m not a fan.
However, that doesn’t mean people shouldn’t have the right to do it. I don’t see the benefits, but it’s not something that endangers life or limb or infringes on the rights of another, so there’s no reason it should be forbidden. Rights aren’t dependant on whether one approves of how they’re exercised.
The Ann Arbor school board is infringing on people’s right to keep and bear arms. They decided to step up and tell people when and where people can exercise their rights.
Unfortunately, there’s precedence for such.
That doesn’t mean there’s no hope for Michigan open carry. Lambert notes, “The truth is we’ve had open carry in our schools for a long time. In our case, the trial court originally ruled in our favor. Until the court of appeals ruled against us, there were many schools in the state that allowed open carry.”
The fact that the trial court ruled in favor of them is a positive sign, but it’s not a slam dunk. We’ll have to see how the court rules, but I wish them the best.