By John Dingell III
The Michigan Supreme Court has declined to hear the appeals of Michigan Gun Owners and Michigan Open Carry by a 4 to 3 vote in Michigan Gun Owners v. Ann Arbor Public Schools and Michigan Open Carry v. Clio Public Schools. Both cases challenged school district rules prohibiting licensed concealed carriers from carrying on school property in accordance with a quirk in state law which permits open carry on school property by CPL licensees.
The Court upheld a lower court decision that schools are not preempted by clear, unambiguous language in state law because they are not “units of government.” Sheer sophistry.
It is a great day in the Ann Arbor Public Schools as we have received word that the Michigan Supreme Court has upheld the ruling of the lower courts in the case Michigan Gun Owners, Inc. v Ann Arbor Public Schools. The Supreme Court decision leaves intact district policies banning the possession of firearms in schools and at school- sponsored events.
This decision is a victory for the children of Michigan and for local Boards of Education who will now have the choice to enact school safety policies that best fit their community. AAPS Board President, Christine Stead, shares, “This is an important ruling on behalf of both children and local governance. In our community we believe guns do not belong in schools and our policies are an effort to achieve that. We work hard to provide a safe environment for education and believe this ruling enables us to do that work, especially on behalf of our students.”
That’s the opinion of Ann Arbor Public Schools superintendent Jeanice Swift.
This was a political decision which will have dramatic unintended consequences throughout the state. With the ruling, school districts have just been untethered from most legislative controls.
It will also damage gun owner support for Republicans in the November 6th elections because two Rick Snyder appointees joined the Court’s two Democrat appointees to make the majority. The ruling, however, will only have a minor effect on gun rights in Michigan. Many school districts will continue to allow open carry by CPL licensees.
The issue will now move to the Legislature, but nothing will happen there until after the November elections unless there is another school shooting. Their biggest issue will then be reasserting control over the state’s districts – particularly financial control.