CLIO, MICHIGAN — So you’re going to pick up your kid from elementary school and you’ve got a gun on your hip. This isn’t a weird thing at all because that child is your responsibility to protect. Plenty of school districts have issue with this and thankfully, somebody finally stepped up to the plate.
Circuit Judge Archie Hayman recently ruled in favor of Kenneth Herman and the gun-rights advocacy group Michigan Open Carry’s lawsuit against the Clio school district. Back in March, Herman filed a lawsuit against the school district, because he was denied access to Edgerton Elementary multiple times while trying to pick up his daughter.
If Herman were a concealed carrier, according to Michigan law, there would be no issue. Because he’s an open carrier, however, the district decided to take issue. That ultimately worked against them when the circuit judge hearing the case ruled in favor of Herman’s right to bear arms.
“Mr. Herman was licensed to do what he did under state law. But the school district said, ‘No, we’re going to come up with a policy, a regulation that is more restrictive than state law.’ That, they of course can’t do,” said Dean G. Greenblatt, the attorney for Herman and Michigan Open Carry, which was also part of the lawsuit.
Thus, Herman was not in violation of any law yet unlawfully denied access to his own child based upon unnecessary policies that haven’t been proven to be effective in child safety.
It’s also important to point out that the ruling showcases an important concept: local bodies, at least in Michigan, don’t have the right to strictly alter state-level legislation.
Any change to the rights of people to carry firearms in the state “has to be decided at the state level,” [Dean G.] Greenblatt commented after the case. “It’s not for unelected library boards or school district boards to make those types of decisions. They don’t have the authority to do it.”
This may not be the case in all states – but certainly for Michigan, the judicial body has ruled in favor of upholding an individual’s right to lawfully carry a firearm. And as much as we – a concealed carry publication – advocate for responsible carry, we support and maintain that the right to bear arms must always come first.
One of the attorneys working for the Clio school district, Tim Mullins said school administrators have no choice but to act when someone attempts to enter their buildings with an exposed firearm.
“If I’m a principal and I’m sitting in my office and I see someone walking up to my building with a gun, what am I supposed to do?” Mullins asked. “What they do is declare a lockdown, they call the police. Kids are afraid. Teachers are afraid. Education stops. And then the police come.”
Mullins pointed out that most districts in the state, and across the nation, have clear policies banning firearms in schools. This judge’s ruling has already sent other school administrators and police officials wondering what the proper response is now when they see someone approaching the school with a firearm.
At present, the Clio school district appears ready to file an appeal for this case. In many ways, this sort of case sets the precedent for future rulings across other parts of the state. We’ll stay tuned to find out what comes of it. This ruling follows on the heels of another case being taken before the courts to determine whether a student who lives and works near campus should be lawfully denied the right to bear arms. That ruling will also likely set precedents for open and concealed carriers working and living around state-supported universities and colleges.