March 18, 2018

Update: MI Court of Appeals: No Gun Ban for Libraries

This article has been updated to include comment from CADL.

Michigan district libraries, like other Michigan public libraries, may not ban guns, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled today.

The ruling reverses the decision of the Ingham County Circuit Court, which last May held in favor of the Capital Area District Library (CADL)’s weapons policy, which reads “all weapons are banned from Library premises to the fullest extent permitted by law.”

The court disagreed with Michigan Open Carry, which argued that CADL had no authority to make such a rule under the District Library Establishment Act. Despite that, the court held that Michigan’s doctrine of field preemption takes precedence, giving the state exclusive authority to regulate weapons.

Gary Bender, attorney for CADL, said in a statement that “CADL’s board and director are stunned that the weapons policy was overturned and continues to believe that it has the authority to ban the open carry of weapons in its branches in order to protect library patrons of all ages and CADL staff.” As to an appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court, Bender said that the board will decide whether to apply for leave to appeal in the near future.

The wording of the court’s verdict left little doubt that Judges Jame Beckering and Henry William Saad found the result unfortunate, though legally necessary. We are obligated to interpret and apply the law, regardless of whether we personally like the outcome,” the ruling said. “Certainly, at a time where this country has witnessed tragic and horrific mass shootings in places of public gathering, the presence of weapons in a library where people of all ages—particularly our youth—gather is alarming and an issue of great concern.”

Judge Elizabeth Gleicher dissented, saying the field preemption doctrine applies only to local units of government as defined by the legislature, which did not mention district libraries.

According to the Detroit Free Press, a bill is before the Legislature to add libraries to the list of places where weapons can’t be carried. However Michigan state Rep. Chuck Moss told the Baldwin Public Library board, “I see little chance that the current Legislature will accomplish this by the end of the year,” according to The Observer & Eccentric. HR 4438 and 4439 were introduced in March and referred to the judiciary committee, but that’s as far as they got.

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Meredith Schwartz ( is Executive Editor of Library Journal.

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  1. They made the correct decision, the law clearly states that the library can not ban guns. Anyone that thinks banning guns makes a place safer is a fool- Columbine, Virgina Tech, Lubby’s Cafe, and the movie theater in Colorado were all GUN FREE ZONES, and we can all see how well that worked out. Gun Free Zones do not work, and the facts show this.

    And for anyone who says “I don’t want to be around someone carrying a gun”- let me point out that there are over 425,000 concealed carry holders in MI, and odds are you are near at least 1 everyday, the only difference is you didn’t see the gun. In fact, about 1 in every 17 adults you pass in your daily routine have a CPL(concealed pistol license), so whether you like it or not you are around someone who carries a gun.

    Judge Aquilina initial ruling was incredibly flawed, and her ruling emotionally based. No one that rules based on personal feeling as opposed to the law like she did should be allowed to continue to decide cases, it completely eliminates the legitimacy of the court system.

    • What a thoughtful and well said comment Desi, I agree with you 100%

      On a side note i am VERY curious on how many tens of thousands of tax dollars are being wasted by the Capitol area district library to push their anti-gun agenda??

      Also, Capitol area district library was very lucky it even got this far, they drew an anti-gun Judge which gave a 100% emotional ruling on the case and took total disregard for what the actual law is…

      Judge Aquilina will NOT be getting my vote when it comes time to do so!

    • Tim Beahan says:

      Close to $100,000 taxpayer’s hard earned dollars were squandered by CADL leadership in defense of their patently illegal policies. CADL was ‘stunned’? I’m stunned that they cannot understand a plain reading of the law; I would expect librarians to be more literate.

  2. America – the nation founded by, and for, armed citizens. There are plenty of other places to go if you don’t like it.

  3. SherriLibrarian says:

    Why in the world does someone need a gun in a library? I respect an individual’s right to have guns in their homes or for sport. But in the library?? Parents now have to worry about their children being in danger when finding books, doing research or attending story time.

    As far as the Columbine, Virginia Tech and movie theater mass shootings, bystanders with guns could have as easily made the death toll worse.

    • Tim Beahan says:

      The shooter in Colorado bypassed several theaters showing the same film, that were CLOSER to his home. Why? Fact- they allowed lawful carry. He went to the closest theater that BANNED lawful carry. Coincidence? You have to wonder….

  4. Cranky Librarian says:

    What was that in the National Anthem? Oh yeah “home of the chickens.”

    Why have we turned into a nation of cowards that believe that guns will protect us from the “evildoers?”

    This is the fundamental question that is not answered by the above people who believe everyone should carry a gun at every moment of their lives.

    What has my country come to?

  5. Cranky Librarian,
    I live in a rural area, I carry a gun everywhere I am legally allowed to do so as part of my daily life. Crime here is fairly non existent, but it does exist, as do rabid dogs not on leashes because of bad owners, as well as a nice assortment of wild animals. On top of these reasons, criminals run the criminal justice system, punishment does not fit the crime, and violent offenders are released into the streets daily. I do not believe “everyone” should carry a gun, but I would like to, and I hope enough physically able, mentally stable individuals take up the social responsibility to protect our fellow Americans. Not everyone, but a good chunk would be nice. I have drawn twice since I started carrying, thankful both times. One time I drew due to a couple of menacing looking unleashed rottweilers. The other was a home invasion where I drew my pistol to defend myself, my wife, and my three year old having spaghetti dinner. As to why a library, why not? It is part of my daily life and I shouldn’t have to remove it to enter a few special buildings I frequent on a regular basis, that is what the Second Amendment and the 6th in Michigan is all about.

    All I want is to lawfully carry my firearm in peace, and never to have to draw it, show it, or fire it in need. Unfortunately, there are too many people around who do things, crazy things, illegal things, and downright scary things, so I will keep my firearm safely tucked into my leather holster. I carry for self defense, I open carry to take the fear out of guns, to educate others that guns aren’t evil, they don’t hurt folks, only criminals and morons do that. I passed my background check, I have been deemed to not be mentally unstable, just let me have my firearm, if you want, wear a shirt that says “I hate guns, please don’t defend me when I am being brutally raped in an alley.”

  6. Cranky Librarian says:

    Thank you for proving my point Jason R. You are a chicken.

    Just wait until librarians have guns and you are loud in the library.

  7. Guess the trolls have found this article . . .

  8. Thank goodness people who need a gun to feel brave get short shrift in Australia.