November 20, 2014

Michigan Libraries Seek To Curb Guns

On July 11, the Michigan Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in a case over whether a library can ban weapons. The case, Capital Area District Library (CADL) v. Michigan Open Carry Inc., was decided in favor of the Capital Area District Library last May by the Ingham County Circuit Court.

The library, which serves Ingham County, MI (except East Lansing), bans all weapons “to the fullest extent permitted by law.” The question is, just how full is that extent? Michigan’s Firearm and Ammunition Act of 1990 says local units of government can’t pass laws and regulations on weapons.

Attorney Gary Bender, who represents the library, told WILX.com that authorities that govern library systems, like those that govern sporting arenas, water systems and other similar organizations, are not included in the Firearms Act. The circuit court agreed, issuing a declaratory judgment that the library’s weapons policy is valid, lawful and not preempted by state law. (The judge also entered a permanent injunction against openly carrying firearms into any CADL branch library or property.)

But Dean Greenblatt, attorney for Michigan Open Carry, disagreed with that interpretation. “The City of Lansing and County of Ingham have created a new entity,” Greenblatt argued. “(CADL is) a creation of two entities that could not themselves regulate firearms, and they created an authority that can,” the Lansing State Journal quoted Greenblatt as saying.

If the appeal goes against them, Michigan Open Carry plans to take its case to the state Supreme Court, according to WILX. Elizabeth Breed, marketing director of CADL, said “No decision has been made” about whether the library would do the same. According to Breed, the library has been paying its own costs for the litigation.

In the meantime, the Baldwin Public Library Board in Birmingham, MI, is taking another route to address the same dilemma. At its July 16 meeting, the board voted to send a letter to its state representatives asking the state legislature to add libraries to the list of places that are except from the open carry law, Director Doug Koschik told LJ. That list currently includes banks, places of worship, court, theaters, sports arenas, day care centers, hospitals, and bars. (According to the board the Village Council of Beverly Hills, Baldwin’s largest contracting community, plans to adopt a resolution at its next meeting supporting the library board’s position as well.)

It wouldn’t be the first time the legislature considered such legislation. On March 15, 2011, Representative Joan Bauer introduced HB 4438 and 4439, which would have added libraries to the list of exceptions to the open and concealed carry laws. Neither received a hearing.

Meredith Schwartz About Meredith Schwartz

Meredith Schwartz (mschwartz@mediasourceinc.com) is Senior Editor, News and Features of Library Journal.

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  1. With CPL: http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(koafa555llk1ktigsozcnm55))/mileg.aspx?page=getObject&objectName=mcl-28-425o

    • 28.425o Premises on which carrying concealed weapon prohibited; “premises” defined; exceptions to subsection (1); violation; penalties.

      Sec. 5o.

      (1) Subject to subsection (4), an individual licensed under this act to carry a concealed pistol, or who is exempt from licensure under section 12a(1)(f), shall not carry a concealed pistol on the premises of any of the following:

      (a) A school or school property except that a parent or legal guardian of a student of the school is not precluded from carrying a concealed pistol while in a vehicle on school property, if he or she is dropping the student off at the school or picking up the child from the school. As used in this section, “school” and “school property” mean those terms as defined in section 237a of the Michigan penal code, 1931 PA 328, MCL 750.237a.

      (b) A public or private child care center or day care center, public or private child caring institution, or public or private child placing agency.

      (c) A sports arena or stadium.

      (d) A bar or tavern licensed under the Michigan liquor control code of 1998, 1998 PA 58, MCL 436.1101 to 436.2303, where the primary source of income of the business is the sale of alcoholic liquor by the glass and consumed on the premises. This subdivision does not apply to an owner or employee of the business. The Michigan liquor control commission shall develop and make available to holders of licenses under the Michigan liquor control code of 1998, 1998 PA 58, MCL 436.1101 to 436.2303, an appropriate sign stating that “This establishment prohibits patrons from carrying concealed weapons”. The owner or operator of an establishment licensed under the Michigan liquor control code of 1998, 1998 PA 58, MCL 436.1101 to 436.2303, may, but is not required to, post the sign developed under this subdivision. A record made available by an establishment licensed under the Michigan liquor control code of 1998, 1998 PA 58, MCL 436.1101 to 436.2303, necessary to enforce this subdivision is exempt from disclosure under the freedom of information act, 1976 PA 442, MCL 15.231 to 15.246.

      (e) Any property or facility owned or operated by a church, synagogue, mosque, temple, or other place of worship, unless the presiding official or officials of the church, synagogue, mosque, temple, or other place of worship permit the carrying of concealed pistol on that property or facility.

      (f) An entertainment facility with a seating capacity of 2,500 or more individuals that the individual knows or should know has a seating capacity of 2,500 or more individuals or that has a sign above each public entrance stating in letters not less than 1-inch high a seating capacity of 2,500 or more individuals.

      (g) A hospital.

      (h) A dormitory or classroom of a community college, college, or university.

      (2) An individual licensed under this act to carry a concealed pistol, or who is exempt from licensure under section 12a(1)(f), shall not carry a concealed pistol in violation of R 432.1212 or a successor rule of the Michigan administrative code promulgated under the Michigan gaming control and revenue act, 1996 IL 1, MCL 432.201 to 432.226.

      (3) As used in subsection (1), “premises” does not include parking areas of the places identified under subsection (1).

      (4) Subsection (1) does not apply to any of the following:

      (a) An individual licensed under this act who is a retired police officer or retired law enforcement officer. The concealed weapon licensing board may require a letter from the law enforcement agency stating that the retired police officer or law enforcement officer retired in good standing.

      (b) An individual who is licensed under this act and who is employed or contracted by an entity described under subsection (1) to provide security services and is required by his or her employer or the terms of a contract to carry a concealed firearm on the premises of the employing or contracting entity.

      (c) An individual who is licensed as a private investigator or private detective under the professional investigator licensure act, 1965 PA 285, MCL 338.821 to 338.851.

      (d) An individual who is licensed under this act and who is a corrections officer of a county sheriff’s department.

      (e) An individual who is licensed under this act and who is a motor carrier officer or capitol security officer of the department of state police.

      (f) An individual who is licensed under this act and who is a member of a sheriff’s posse.

      (g) An individual who is licensed under this act and who is an auxiliary officer or reserve officer of a police or sheriff’s department.

      (h) An individual who is licensed under this act and who is a parole or probation officer of the department of corrections.

      (i) A state court judge or state court retired judge who is licensed under this act. The concealed weapon licensing board may require a state court retired judge to obtain and carry a letter from the judicial tenure commission stating that the state court retired judge is in good standing as authorized under section 30 of article VI of the state constitution of 1963, and rules promulgated under that section, in order to qualify under this subdivision.

      (5) An individual who violates this section is responsible for a state civil infraction or guilty of a crime as follows:

      (a) Except as provided in subdivisions (b) and (c), the individual is responsible for a state civil infraction and may be fined not more than $500.00. The court shall order the individual’s license to carry a concealed pistol suspended for 6 months.

      (b) For a second violation, the individual is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000.00. The court shall order the individual’s license to carry a concealed pistol revoked.

      (c) For a third or subsequent violation, the individual is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 4 years or a fine of not more than $5,000.00, or both. The court shall order the individual’s license to carry a concealed pistol revoked.

  2. My apologies on posting twice. I meant to state in the first post that MCL does not prohibit the carry pistols in banks. In fact before becoming a shall issue CPL state. Business to bank was a valid reason to aquire a permit, when apearing infront of the gun board.

    • Meredith Schwartz says:

      Hi Jon,

      Thanks for commenting! I got it from here:

      Sec. 234d. (1) Except as provided in subsection (2), a person shall not possess a firearm on the premises of any of the following:

      (a) A depository financial institution or a subsidiary or affiliate of a depository financial institution.

      Did I misunderstand?

  3. JRHowosso says:

    Got to wonder if they win the right to become a ‘gun free zone’ what they are going to do about the section of the carry law that allows CPL holders to carry in gun free zones as long as they carry OPEN??????
    Gotta love it

  4. As a CPL holder and responsible gun owner, I can understand why you wouldn’t want folks to carry (openly or concealed) in a library. Really it’s the same reasons you shouldn’t be able to carry in a school. That said, my neighborhood library is Monteith, located on the 14000 block of Kercheval.