Michigan Appeals Court Hears Guns in Library Case

By: Lindsay Veremis Email
By: Lindsay Veremis Email

Do guns belong in a public library? Last March, a trial judge said no. Now, the ongoing debate has reached the Michigan Appeals Court.

"Your individual rights are being decided by an unelected library board," Dean Greenblatt, attorney for Michigan Open Carry said. "Not only that but it's really more of a political issue about gun control."

Michigan Open Carry believes firearms should be allowed openly in Capital Area District Library buildings because state law doesn't explicity give the library the power to ban them.

"That's the job of the legislature and the legislature has regulated firearms," Greenblatt said. "There are 100 statutes and acts that regulate the carry of firearms, the possession of firearms, where you can buy them, where you have to register them."

The pro-gun group argues the library, like cities, townships and counties, can't make policies that override state law.

"The library has opened a very large crack in the law that we don't believe exists, but they're exploiting it," Rob Harris, Vice President of Michigan Open Carry said.

The libary agrees local government cannot regulate guns, but says it is not a government, it is an authority.

"We are a separate animal if you will," Gary Bender, attorney for the Capital Area District Library system said. "We're not included in that definition so we can have our own rules regarding whether you can openly carry a weapon with in the Capital Area District Library and one of its branches."

Like policies banning skateboards, drugs or alcohol in the library, Bender says this is just another safety rule and a vital one.

"They were walking into the library, one fellow with a shotgun strung over his shoulder and other patrons didn't know, is this a terrorist act that's about to happen, is somebody going to get hurt?" Bender added.

The appeals court is expect to issue its decision in a month or two.

Until that decision comes, an order from a lower court temporarily banning weapons from the library and its branches will stand.

Michigan Open Carry plans to take its case to the state Supreme Court if this appeal fails.


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