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Guns On Michigan School Grounds Case To Be Heard Next Week – Could Have Far-Reaching Implications

Apr 5, 2018

Gun in Holster
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

A major firearms case will be debated in front of the Michigan Supreme Court next week.  But advocates on both sides say it’s about more than whether someone can carry a firearm on school grounds.

Ann Arbor and Clio school districts in Michigan got sued for banning guns on school grounds.

State law generally prevents local gun rules – and the court will decide whether that applies here- which could have a broader impact.

Don Wotruba is the executive director of the Michigan Association of School Boards.  He said the case is about keeping lawmakers out of school district decisions.

“It’s in our minds much less about guns, not guns,” he said.  “This is really about does the state law allow the local district to have a policy that is different from state law.”

On the other side of the case, gun advocates say if the court rules for the schools, it would go against years of case law about preemption.  They say the schools are exceeding their authority because when it comes to firearms, only the state can make regulations.

“Schools have all types of restrictions on what they can do,” said Dean Greenblatt, an attorney for Michigan Open Carry.  That’s one of the organizations suing a school district. 

He continued, “The question really is what powers and what authority has the state already given to schools?”

Greenblatt says if they lose, it will completely change how the state interprets whether state law trumps local ordinances.

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—Cheyna Roth is a reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at 734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org