Michigan Supreme Court Ann Arbor Public Schools Guns
courtesy mlive.com
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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.



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  1. I pay compulsary taxes… to fund something I don’t use… and don’t agree with… and elect people to represent me… is this not government?

  2. 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.”

    I read the ruling and this comment is somewhat misleading. Michigan’s preemption law first states that “local units of government” cannot regulate firearm sales, possession, etc. Then the preemption law states that “local units of government” are “counties, townships, cities, and villages”. Thus, Michigan’s preemption law does not explicitly state that schools are local units of government.

    Also in the ruling, the Michigan Supreme Court stated that Michigan’s legislature could simply add schools to the list of “local units of government” which would then preempt schools.

    This is yet another case of “good cop, bad cop” where the various units of government blame each other and play off of each other.

    • If that is the case then perhaps the “local units of government” should tell the schools if they violate state law then they’ll need to find another way to pay their bills because the tax spigot will be shut.

    • Yes, but… we in Michigan already had a similar case against a local library system… in that case the MOC and MGO won, and the ruling was that the ruling bodies of libraries were in fact local units of government and must follow preemption. So if a local library’s board is elected and taxes and millages are paid to support it.. and IT is a unit of govt, how is a local school whose board is elected and taxes and millages are paid to support it NOT?

      • MOC and MGO won

        Point of order, MGO was not a part of that lawsuit. Michigan Open Carry did that solo.

  3. The full opinion, including dissent, is here: http://bit.ly/2uXfbAd

    If you want some very interesting reading, skip to page 37 and begin reading Supreme Court Chief Justice Markman’s dissent opinion and his NOTE TO THE READER beginning on page 38. He took the majority to the woodshed. A few tiny excerpts:

    Markman: ” It is a serious “miscarriage of justice” for this Court to hold that the school districts’ policies are valid…Even more fundamentally, it is a serious “miscarriage of justice” to fail to consider a supposedly “unpreserved” argument when that argument implicates the threshold inquiry in this case: whether the school districts possess the authority under the Revised School Code to adopt their policies in the first place.

    Markman: “As a matter of rudimentary logic, if something is explicitly not prohibited, it is permitted. I can imagine the question on a middle-school worksheet: the opposite of “not prohibited” is ______? Answer: permitted. It is quite that simple. The law is binary in this regard; conduct is either prohibited or it is not; there is not some Alice-in-Wonderland third realm of the law in which conduct is neither prohibited nor permitted. That is what not what legislatures intend by their enactments, and it is not what the people comprehend in these enactments; not one Michigan citizen in a hundred would look to the relevant statutes in this case, read the prohibition on firearms in school zones and then read of the exception for CPL holders, and not conclude– altogether reasonably– that if he or she is a CPL holder, he or she is permitted to do what is prohibited to others. There are countless laws of this state predicated on exactly this same logic and this same commonsense understanding of language. To adopt the position of the concurrence– “that that which the Legislature does not prohibit, it [also does not] impliedly permit”– is to engage in gamesmanship with the citizenry, to mislead them in the exercise of their rights and responsibilities, to play “gotcha” by holding people accountable to the law in indeterminate ways when they “confuse” relief from prohibition as the equivalent of permission. If an explicit legal exemption from a general prohibition does not mean that the otherwise prohibited conduct is permitted, what does it mean?”

  4. Translation of Ann Arbor Public Schools’ statement from ProgSpeak to American English: We refuse to protect your children, and you can’t make us! And if they’re murdered at school, we’ll still blame YOU for it. Heads we win, tails you lose! Hahahahaha!

    At least, that’s how I read it. Translation is an art, not a science, so perhaps I missed some nuances.

    • Heads we win, tails you lose!

      That IS the government game.

      The sad thing is that the Michigan legislature could promptly fix this. Since they are spineless pansies, however, they will not do anything, especially this close to the election in November.

      Even more pathetic, if Michigan Republicans win the gubernatorial election and keep a majority in the Michigan House and Senate this November, they still will not fix this.

    • The public schools are full of this kind of thinking – we will refuse liability at every opportunity and then block you from acting in your own interest despite the Constitution. This is the ultimate in ridiculously illogical thought, brought to life via litigation that poses as legislation. No public input is allowed, just administrative bureaucracy. After all, you people are too weak minded to be responsible for not wanting to see your family murdered in a place they fail to provide security where you are compelled by law to attend – if you are a minor child in the state of Michigan.

    • “Why do they hate the children?”

      They don’t hate the children. They love them!

      They love children the same way O.J. Simpson loved Nicole Brown…

  5. Not “units of government?”
    WTF? They are funded by tax payer dollars, the teachers and admin are part of the states retirement system.
    What on earth am I missing?

    • And we even elect local school boards at general elections.

      Nevertheless, the Michigan preemption statute makes the legal blunder of defining “local units of government” as ONLY four entities (counties, townships, cities, and villages).

      A much better wording of the preemption statute would have been, “Local units of government include, but are not limited to, counties, townships, cities, and villages.”

      Important note: the exact same problem exists with three universities in Michigan because the Michigan Constitution specifically mentions those three universities having authority to enact rules for proper operation of those universities. Of course those universities take that to mean that they are not preempted, either.

    • It’s not that difficult. The district (usually the county) schools are governed by the District/County Board of Education. That is the end of the depth and breadth of any ‘governance.’ It’s self-contained within its own bubble.

      “Units of Government” means something entirely different. Everything from the legislature to the Governor, Secretary of State, etc., on down including County government to your local township/city government to say, your police and fire departments.

      • My local school board has the power to levy taxes on all property in the county including motor vehicles and to use eminent domain. School boards are required to abide by state open meeting laws. Sounds like a “unit of governance” to me.

        • This should have been a slam-dunk win for Michigan Open Carry and Michigan Gun Owners. The Michigan courts have previously ruled on several cases, declaring that due to Michigan’s firearms preemption laws, state law completely occupies the field of firearms regulation, and that not only can’t cities, towns, villages and counties make any restrictive laws or even rules regarding firearms (such as no guns in parks), but neither can quasi-municipal corporations such as libraries. The courts have stated that since municipal bodies can’t make gun rules, it follows that bodies subordinate to them also cannot make gun rules.

          But it seems that liberal judges do whatever they want.

    • They are selectively representing themselves depending on the question. They are government when it comes to a daily prayer in the morning or at athletic contests, but in all else they run away. They are government when the make rules about your obligations but dodge that role when it comes to being obliged to make the school a safe place. They are government when it comes to making people recognize the 27 or so new genders, yet not when it comes to teaching children what skills they need to become contributing members of a free society.

  6. In our community we believe guns do not belong in schools ( except if you are a school shooter) and our policies are an effort to achieve that. We work hard to provide a dangerous environment for communist indoctrination and believe this ruling enables us to do that work, especially on behalf of the Global Elite.”

  7. Wrong. This is not what the court said. I was involved in this case and with the briefs.

    All the court said was that field preemption doesn’t for Firearms.

    The court chose to ignore direct conflict preemption with the exception of affirming that exempt CPL holders can carry concealed pistols in schools no matter what they say.

    The court ignored the Clio brief by Michigan Open Carry and chose to pretend that we did not mention direct conflict as it may apply to the unconcealed carry of pistols in schools.

  8. Great ruling for taxpayers. If school boards are not units of government, what compels citizens to pay taxes to them then?

  9. So the Michigan Highest court said its OK For a nut Job left wing Loony Bin School Board to dictate how safe my kids are in school, by not allowing guns for trained security people and or teachers! , all I know if the school board and Principle let my kids get shot they would personally pay the piper!

  10. It’s refreshing to have debate such as this, however,
    there are similar limitations in the state of Georgia.
    One should think about why people with gun permits
    feel the need to have to carry a gun EVERYWHERE. Some places may not be appropriate or necessary to
    have a gun. I know this is a right but is it really a need or requirement. Maybe the schools should have people in place to protect the students and leave that responsibility to them. Thank tou

    • Ahhh yes. But are the appointed protectors allowed to have guns? If not then we’re back to square one. Unprotected kids in school waiting for police to arrive

  11. You can’t help those that refuse or are too stupid to accept help. Just the next time some maniac goes into one of your schools and does his damage don’t blame the lawful gun owners. You need only to look into a mirror to place the blame.

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