Sam Bernstein of ArborYpsi Law Discusses New Michigan Supreme Court Case Pertaining to the School Gun Ban
A new Michigan Supreme Court case ruled that local school districts may ban or regulate firearms on school property.
What Happened in the Case
The case was the result of two separate cases, one case originating from a lawsuit against the school district of Ann Arbor, and the other originating from a school district in Clio, in Genessee County.
In both cases, the school districts did not allow people to “open-carry” firearms on school grounds. People could carry concealed weapons, however. The plaintiffs were parents of children in the school district who were backed by gun advocacy rights groups. In the lawsuit against the Ann Arbor School district, the judge found in favor of the school district. In the lawsuit against the Clio school district, the judge found in favor of the plaintiff. Both cases went to the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals then affirmed the decision for the Ann Arbor school district while overturning the decision against the Clio school district.
Issues of the Case
The plaintiff’s argument was that state law preempted any school district rule. The plaintiff reasoned that state law was responsible for firearm regulation, therefore state law impliedly took precedence over any school district rule. However, the Court countered that state law expressly declined to regulate firearm law. Therefore, the school district was free to create rules either banning or regulating firearms from their premises.
The Takeaways of the Case
In this case, the Michigan Supreme Court affirmed the right of school districts to ban guns on school grounds. The case further establishes the right of school district to regulate and create rules in areas that are unregulated by state law. School districts are not considered “local units of government” that are subject to direct state control in all areas. School districts may in the future get creative with regulation they believe is in the interest of child welfare.
This case also comes on the heels of some bad school shootings. School districts are interested in keeping as many guns as possible off school grounds. Gun Rights Advocates, such as the plaintiffs in the case, were interested in increasing gun presence on school grounds, with the idea that more guns would deter potential shooters. It should be noted, however, that both school districts still allowed concealed weapons to be carried in schools – the issue was with “open-carry” on school grounds.
This case is captioned as Michigan Gun Owners, Inc and Ulysses Wong v. Ann Arbor Public Schools, Michigan Open Carry, Inc and Kenneth Herman v. Clio Area School District.
Sam Bernstein of ArborYpsi Law is a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Washtenaw County, Michigan. Sam can be reached at 734-883-9584 or by e-mail at [email protected] ArborYpsi Law is located at 4158 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48108.
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