Joseph Solis-Mullen is a Michigander with three kids, a job as a restaurant cook, and a 9mm S&W. On December 4, two of those led to a little run-in with local authorities when he openly carried his pistol into the Lillian Fletcher Elementary School to sign his son into class. As regular TTAG readers know, courts in the home state of Gerald Ford, Aretha Franklin, and Eminem . . .
have held that Carrying a firearm into a public school is perfectly legal…as long as the carrier has a Michigan Concealed Pistol License, and the firearm is openly carried. Aware of this fact, Solis-Mullen made sure that his firearm was very visible. “It was right in front. I made sure my shirt was behind it,” he said.
Indeed, it was so visible that a school official who advised him that openly carrying the gun “was inappropriate because he was in a weapon-free zone.” Despite being pretty obviously wrong given the fact that a man was carrying a firearm right in front of him, this school official apparently generated enough confusion that Solis-Mullen returned on Monday afternoon to have a little chat with Homer Community School District Superintendent Robert Wright. Still carrying his 9mm, natch.
Wright was not amused:
“He [Wright] said if you don’t disarm and take the weapon to your car right now, I’m going to lock the school down, because that’s the school policy,” Mullen said. “I had felt like I had been put unfairly in a situation where now I was being pressured to comply with a school procedure.”
As a result, the Homer school buildings went into a “hard lockdown”. And the definition of “hard lockdown” is not exactly clear, because it appears that Mr. Mullen, the man who triggered the “hard lockdown” in the first place was apparently allowed to leave because, you know, he wasn’t actually doing anything wrong. The local constabulary was called, however, and had a little chat with Mullen. Unfortunately for Superintendent Wright, the conversation does not appear to have gone the way he had hoped:
“(The deputy) was like, ‘Just want to let you know (you) didn’t do anything illegal, you’re not under any trouble or anything,” Solis-Mullen said. “‘The school complained, though, so I have to follow up and let you know that I went and talked to them and told them about the law. They honestly didn’t know; it was an honest mistake; sorry to bother you.'”
“He literally said, ‘If it was me, what I would just do is I would just leave it in my car. But you’re perfectly within your right carrying it in school if you wish to do so in the manner that you’ve been doing it,'” Solis-Mullen said….
Solis-Mullen said after that conversation, he called the school secretary, who told him the school wasn’t aware of the law and that although they didn’t like it, they understand the law.
Mrs. Solis-Mullen criticized the school district for, essentially, wasting everyone’s time and taxpayer money for a political stunt. It’s hard to disagree with her characterization of this incident when you consider that, as the Battle Creek Enquirer reported, her husband had carried his firearm on school grounds more than once since obtaining his Concealed Pistol License, even attending parent-teacher conferences while openly carrying.
“I even asked (the secretary) ‘what do you mean, you can’t tell me just now you’re noticing this,'” Solis-Mullen said. “And she’s like, ‘Oh yeah, I would have said something.’ I’m like ‘Wow, that is incredibly scary then.’ Because it’s not like I was wearing something super-tiny or like trying to keep it hidden, it was literally like as open as could be. I wanted to make sure that no part of my shirt was covering it, nothing.”
Wright responded Wednesday, saying if anybody had seen the gun, they did not report it. He said the staff was quite surprised when Solis-Mullen told that to them as well.
“To the average Joe, we’re not looking for those type of things,” Wright said Wednesday. “We’re not trained to look for those type of things.”
It isn’t very encouraging to hear a supposed professional educator revel in his own ignorance. If I were a suspicious, paranoid sort, I’d wonder if the primary reason for imposing a lockdown despite the fact that Mr. Solis-Mullen was behaving in both a legal and peaceful manner (while in the Superintendent’s office, for pity’s sake!) was simply to push a politcal agenda. The issue of whether CPL holders should be able to carry firearms into schools has been in the news in Michigan since that recent court decision, after all.
For his part, Mr. Solis-Mullen asserted that he wasn’t trying to “spark controversy” or “promote a political stance”; his intent was solely “to keep himself, his son, and others safe because of recent mass shootings.”
“Everybody wants to think it’s not going to be us, it’s not going to be here. And it’s a very small chance,” he said, in an interview with Fox17. “I’d rather be sitting in a courtroom than an emergency room; I’d rather be safe rather than sorry.
As well you should, Mr. Solis-Mullen.
DISCLAIMER: The above is an opinion piece; it is not legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship in any sense. If you need legal advice in any matter, you are strongly urged to hire and consult your own counsel. This post is entirely my own, and does not represent the positions, opinions, or strategies of my firm or clients.