UPDATE: While Open Carry activists in Michigan and beyond were celebrating Monday’s ruling by a circuit court judge that a Genesee County man can openly carry a sidearm into an elementary school to pick up his daughter, the Detroit Free Press is now reporting that the school district will appeal the decision and also ask state lawmakers to clarify the state’s carry law.
The newspaper said Kenneth Herman was joined by Michigan Open Carry in the legal action after Herman complained in March that he had been repeatedly denied entry into Edgerton Elementary School to pick up his daughter. Under state law, someone licensed to carry concealed can carry openly in a school, the newspaper noted, but the school district’s attorney told the Free Press that the law also allows school districts to adopt policies for student safety.
But in a meeting Tuesday night, the school board voted 6-0 to appeal the decision to the Michigan Court of Appeals. It was not clear how long it might take for an appeal to be heard.
Over on the Open Carry.org (OCDO) forum, Michigan activists are discussing the win. The school’s attorney, Tim Mullins, told reporters that school administrators “are forced to act” when someone enters their building with a visible firearm. One OCDO member suggested that the local police chief should bill the school for every call his department gets.
The ruling by Circuit Judge Archie Hayman flies in the face of policies nationwide that prohibit the carrying of firearms by private citizens in school buildings. Mullins noted that guns are prohibited in other places including airports and courthouses. Could there be a double standard here, because Judge Hayman delivered his opinion in a courtroom where guns are not allowed?
Clio School Supt. Fletcher Spears reportedly contended that there is ambiguity in the state law, and that the Legislature needs to revise the language. Spears is reportedly a life member of the National Rifle Association, and he apparently supported a measure that would have allowed concealed carry in schools, but was vetoed, the Free Press story said.
While the Monday ruling was just the end of “Round One,” open carriers still considered it a victory that is far more substantive than symbolic.
MEANWHILE, as this column reported July 31 (see link below), the debate over recreational shooting on national forest lands is fired up once again, with Washington’s Snoqualmie-Mt. Baker National Forest tied for second place in the number of shooting complaints (542) over the past five years. The forest is tied with Arizona’s Tonto National Forest, and both are running behind Colorado’s Pike-San Isabel National Forest, which has had 926 complaints since 2010.
It’s a combination of slob shooters, vandalism and litterbugs whose behavior threatens to spoil recreational shooting opportunity for everyone. If this were simply a Pacific Northwest problem, it would speak poorly only of people in that region, but shooting complaints – as noted in the story on the KING 5 News website – are something of a national embarrassment.
Q. What do you think should be done to curtail slob shooters? Weigh in below in the “Comments” section.
The report notes that back on July 3, a man identified as Glenn Martin was shot fatally as he sat at a campfire in the Pike, about 30 miles southwest of Denver. What’s the excuse for this unsolved death? There isn’t one.
Bullets fired errantly are going to eventually hit something. Adding to the Martin tragedy was the fact that, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette, the area where he died had been closed to target shooting.
For those who are going to shoot in a national forest or on any public land, firearms experts are adamant that you have a good backstop; an old slash pile, stump or large dirt bank make good backstops and do not shoot over them. That is, put targets in front of these barriers, not on top of them. Don’t shoot in or anywhere near a campground, and get back away from the road. Pick up your trash.
Responsible shooters should report slob shooters. People dumping trash on public land are breaking the law. People being careless with firearms are simply dangerous, to themselves and others. The story noted that warnings are issued about three times as often as citations. Over the past five years, more than 2,270 citations have been written, resulting in fines of up to $400. If the offense is bad enough, the fine can go much higher and somebody can even do jail time.
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