The recent Michigan Supreme Court in Michigan Gun Owners v. Ann Arbor Public Schools frees school districts to make rules regarding guns on school grounds.
The case involved two school districts, Ann Arbor and Clio, which ban the “open-carry” of guns on school grounds. Both school districts already allowed concealed weapons to the extent the law allowed. The school districts were sued because of this policy.
What is “Open-Carry?”
Michigan is what’s called an open-carry state. This means a person who may possess a firearm can carry that firearm that is out in the open (with lawful intent of course).
There are certain places where the general public cannot possess a firearm unless they have a concealed pistol license (CPL). A person may not open-carry at a bank, religious place, court, theater, sports arena, day care center, hospital, or place where alcohol is served, unless the place specifically allows for firearm possession. MCL 750.234d.
A person with a CPL may carry a gun in these locations but must do so with open-carry.
No law prohibits the open-carry of guns on school grounds.
Concealed Weapons on School Property
Michigan Law bans concealed weapons on school grounds with one exception. A person with a concealed pistol license may carry a concealed weapon while in their car while dropping off or picking up their child at school. Outside of that, the law prohibits the person from getting out of their car and walking around school grounds with the concealed weapon. This was the law prior to this case and remains the law now. Read the full List of Places that Concealed Weapons are Prohibited.
What the Michigan Gun Owners Case Will Mean for the Future
As we said above, Michigan law does not prohibit the open carry of weapons on school grounds. The recent Supreme Court case said school districts may enact policies banning guns on school grounds.
More and more school districts may start banning open-carry of guns on school grounds. Currently, it is a crime to carry a concealed weapon in a prohibited place. The penalty is a civil infraction for a first offense, a misdemeanor for a second offense, and a felony for a third offense. Each offense also comes with either a suspension or revocation for your concealed pistol license.
The law which lists the prohibits places for a concealed weapon could be amended to include school districts that prohibit concealed weapons in cars, as school districts are also free to prohibit the carrying of a concealed weapon on school grounds completely. This means it’s possible a CPL holder could not bring a weapon in their car and it would be a civil infraction or crime to do so.
Sam Bernstein is a Criminal Defense Lawyer focusing on Firearms Law.
ArborYpsi Law is located at 4158 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48108.
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