In March of 2016, members of Michigan Open Carry (MOC) and Michigan Gun Owners (MGO) were manning a booth that they’d rented in the DeVos Place Convention Center. They were openly carrying holstered pistols, which has never been against the law in Michigan, except for a small number of restricted areas. While people with concealed carry permits may not carry a concealed firearm into a school, they may openly carry a holstered pistol there. They can openly carry holstered pistols into the State Capitol.
Late in the day on 11 March, the members of MGO and MOC were approached by unarmed security at the Convention Center and asked to disarm or leave. They were threatened with trespass. The Convention Center is public property. Michigan has a strong firearms preemption law that prevents local governments from infringing on Second Amendment rights. From Fox17online.com:
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich- Advocates of Michigan Open Carry and Michigan Gun Owners have filed a lawsuit against DeVos Place Convention Center and its management company, after being thrown out of the facility in March 2016.
Attorneys for Michigan Open Carry tell FOX 17 they had a gun at their leased booth during the Women’s Expo in an effort to educate woman about protection and personal safety. The lawsuit claims, DeVos Place asked them to remove the weapon, saying the gun violates their policy. Attorneys also say their clients were told police would be called, and that they would be charged with trespassing if they didn’t comply.
The DeVos Place Convention center is run by the Grand Rapids-Kent County Convention/Arena Authority (CAA). The CAA hired a management corporation SMG holdings, to manage the Convention Center. It was SMG employees that threatened trespass action if the MOC and MGO members did not disarm.
The CAA claims that they have a policy that forbids the carry of or possession of weapons in the Convention Center. The CAA website for the properties it manages now contains this notice. From devosperformancehall.com:
Weapons Probited: Weapons include, but are not limited to, the following: firearms, explosives, stun guns, handcuffs, brass knuckles, sticks, clubs, batons, martial arts instruments, pepper spray, tear gas, knives, etc. Guests found in possession of the above-mentioned items will be asked to remove the item from the arena or dispose of it. Guests who refuse to comply will be ejected from the arena and may be subject to arrest.
MOC and MGO requested the policy under which the SMG and CAA derived their authority to restrict the rights of Michigan residents to carry arms in this publicly owned property. The CAA and SMG administrations refused.
The MOC and MGO have filed suit against the CAA and SMG, alleging that the CAA and SMG acted unlawfully to deny them their contracted for space, and to threaten them with trespass for an offence that they do not have the authority to create.
The lawsuit was filed in early July. The suit asks the court to issue an order to CAA and SMG to cease from their unlawful activities that create firearms law or regulation not allowed by state law. They also ask for reimbursement for the members of MOC and MGO’s time at the Convention Center, and for court costs and attorney’s fees.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.Link to Gun Watch