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Should You Be Allowed to Openly Carry Guns in Libraries?

The Baldwin Public Library Board is requesting local lawmakers add libraries to the list of places where openly carrying firearms is not allowed.

Should people be allowed to openly carry guns in Michigan's libraries?

The Board doesn't think you should, and they're appealing to area lawmakers to change Michigan's open carry law.

According to a letter sent to State Rep. Chuck Moss (R-Birmingham) and State Sen. John Pappageorge (R-Troy), the movement was spurred by a group of open carry advocates who came to the library on June 11, all of which were carrying weapons.

The group was part of a , who was then facing charges after in early April. of all charges by a jury in 48th District Court last week.

"These individuals' presence inflicted fear in some of Baldwin's staff, disrupting their work and adversely affecting Baldwin's efforts to foster an atmosphere conducive to constructive library usage," the letter, which was approved by the Baldwin Library Board at their Monday night meeting, read.

Despite filing an Incident Report with police, Library Board President Andrew Harris said Baldwin is "hamstrung" when it comes to preventing such incidents in the future — hamstrung, he said, because state law allows for open carry in Michigan libraries.

While municipalities aren't allowed to regulate the possession of firearms, according to MCL 750.234d there are certain exceptions when firearms are not allowed. These include:

  • Churches
  • Courts
  • Theaters
  • Sports arenas
  • Day care centers
  • Hospitals
  • Establishments licensed under the Michigan Liquor Control Act

Not on that list, Harris said, are public libraries.

"The Baldwin Public Library Board would like the Legislature to change the law to include libraries amongst places where citizens are precluded from carrying weapons," the letter reads.

"The Board believes a change in state law would greatly reduce the risk of a tragic accident at Baldwin, help foster a healthier environent for library usage, eliminate the chance that citizens would be afraid to enter the library and lower security costs," Harris adds.

This isn't the first time open carry laws have been challenged when it comes to Michigan libraries. Currently before the Michigan Court of Appeals is a case debating whether the Capital Area District Library system in Lansing has the right to banish openly-carried firearms.

According to MLive, the library system was granted a permanent injunction to prohibit the open carry of firearms in Ingham County Circuit Court last year. That decision was appealed by Michigan Open Carry. A decision is expected to be issued by the end of the month.

Alan Stamm July 20, 2012 at 08:06 PM
I'm no expert on firearms statutes, which I learned a bit more about from reading recent coverage of the Sean Combs case -- including comments from Southeast Michigan members of opencarry.org. "Michigan is a traditional open carry state," according to that group's site, which may or may not be accurate. "Open carry is more common in rural areas. You may NOT open carry in a car without a permit. However, Michigan recognizes the resident permits of all 50 states." http://opencarry.org/mi.html
Adam July 20, 2012 at 08:19 PM
I want to add that that 38% I mentioned above was just for the city of Chicago and thats the statistics for this year versus last years crime rates. And Chicago isnt relaxing their firearms laws by any sense of the word. So heres a city and state where the possession of firearms in ANY public place is prohibited yet they have a 38% increase in crime. So tell me again how keeping guns out of public places will reduce crime...I'm waiting.
R Jeppostol July 20, 2012 at 08:20 PM
If even 1 bad guy is able to get his hands on a gun legally or not, then upstanding citizens ought to have the right to legally carry. Personally, I could care less where specifically they are allowed/not allowed to carry, because in this case the shooter in the theater was not technically allowed to carry(because he was in a theater) but obviously he had no intention of obeying this law. I don't own a gun, nor do I really want one, but this video is a solid example of why I don't mind upstanding citizens having guns(I say upstanding citizens, because, let's be honest, if a bad guy wants a gun no simple law is going to stop him): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZNC2VwyaPU&feature=youtu.be
Adam July 20, 2012 at 08:41 PM
R Jeppostol: Thank you for your support and common sense approach to law abiding citizens carrying a firearm for their personal protection. A lot of people who have no desire to carry dont understand why anyone else would want to. Again, thank you for your common sense approach. If you think about it criminals are the ones who really enjoy their 2nd Amendment rights without infringements. Criminals carry a gun wherever they would like, they carry with no license to conceal it given by the state, and they dont register their firearms. Its the law abiding who have to jump through loops and have their rights infringed upon, its a little hard to understand but in reality its the criminal who enjoys their 2nd Amendment rights in the purest form. Doesnt sound right does it?
Danny Griffin July 20, 2012 at 08:45 PM
The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities. Some here would deny individual rights.
Adam July 20, 2012 at 08:48 PM
Kimber Bishop-Yanke, how exactly do you expect the police to be everywhere at every second of every hour to protect everyone in your city. The truth is they cant. The police will never be able to be there to protect you, they will do as they have always done, show up after the incident and write a report and hope they can catch the bad guy. If someone breaks into your home or tries to rob you at an ATM I can promise you with 100% assurity that the police will not be there when that happens to protect you. Average response time for police to violent crimes, to include rape, is 5 minutes. Thats 5 minutes youre potentially being raped, shot, stabbed, or beaten while you wait for the police to respond to help you. Thats a long time to be left to beg for your life while youre at the mercy of your attacker. So like I've said in a previous comment on here, if you believe you, or anyone else, will not need a gun for their protection because the police will protect you, well, you'll be the first among the dead.
Adam July 20, 2012 at 10:50 PM
Its all the same thing, churches, hospitals, day cares, theres nothing more special about them than there is anything else. The only difference is some people thought that those places needed to be special and therefore exempted because they didnt see a need for guns to be in there. But search how often there is a shooting in a hospital, there was one only a few months ago where a man shot and killed his wife who was laying in a hospital bed. How many school shootings have their been? But guns arent allowed on or in a school by law abiding citizens, citizens like the teachers and principals that could have shot and stopped the shooter(s). We have Pistol Free Zones because someone thought that guns werent necessary in those locations, but they couldnt be more wrong. Look at the guy in California who was almost killed by fans of an opposing MLB team during a baseball game, I'm sure he could have used a gun to defend himself. He was beaten for being a fan of a different team. And the reason my mind wont change is because I realize there are real threats in the world, threats that wont be stopped by someone threatening to call the police, cause trust me they wont be there in time. People like yourself who think guns shouldnt be in public places like libraries wont change their mind because you refuse to believe that the police wont be able to protect you, people like you have the "it wont happen here or to me" mind set. unfortunately it happens all to often.
Danny Griffin July 20, 2012 at 11:23 PM
@Alan > Although last night's the Aurora, CO, tragedy doesn't directly involve the debate about open carry laws This is interesting. You heard all about this shooting in Aurora, CO, and for good reason. But I bet you didn't hear about the shooting there a few months ago when in this same town an armed churchgoer shot and killed someone who shot two people there. Did any of you hear about that? Didn't think so.
Second Amendment July 20, 2012 at 11:48 PM
When Seconds Count, Police are 180 seconds away.... So with in this time what are you going to do when the Bad guy is robbing you... seem in your mind set is to be in fear and run...or I hope the police show up.... I would like you take time and look at this website... http://www.corneredcat.com You say there should be more police, well who is going to pay for them?? Lately most citys are hurting for $$$..... So extra $$ for them is not going to happen...
RA July 21, 2012 at 12:24 PM
No need to bring a gun or laptop to the library, that's not a good message for kids. Go read a book!
Alan Stamm July 21, 2012 at 10:14 PM
I get what you're saying, Adam . . . honestly, I do. And like all high-emotion, high-stakes social/legal policy issues, reasonable folks disagree and some see it as less clear-cut than "us vs. criminals." Atlantic magazine blogger Ta-Nehisi Coates today says it much better than I can: "If we all are going to agree to be armed, surely I don't want my arms to be inferior to the arms of my potential adversaries -- a category including virtually any other citizen. The Aurora shooter was evidently in full body-armor. I need to upgrade to hand-grenades. And so we arrive at a kind of personal arms race, "And we arrive at a world with minimal trust in the state's ability to deploy violence on our behalf -- a distrust of the authorities whom we pay to protect us, a cynicism which says those authorities are beyond reform, and that only through this personal arms race can a person sleep at night. "And too we are left with the deeply held belief that, somehow, we can always outgun those who would do us harm. . . . It's worth considering what we mean by a safer society, and whether it can be secured through a cold war of all against all. It's worth asking if the world really needs more George Zimmermans."
Danny Griffin July 22, 2012 at 01:39 AM
@ Alan > a distrust of the authorities whom we pay to protect us The authorities didn't do such a good job of protecting those people in Aurora, CO Thursday night, did they?
True Patriot July 22, 2012 at 10:22 PM
Kimber, You are living in a fantasy world.
Wait Staff July 23, 2012 at 04:46 AM
I support open carry guns inside the libary. The libary should also give each visitor a baseball bat when they visit. That way, if the open carry gun person get out of had, everyone else there would be prepared to whack the open carry gun troublemaker back into control with a gold old Louisville Slugger.
Burton Knows July 24, 2012 at 03:57 PM
@Yolanda: Your comments reinforce why people SHOULDN'T BE ALLOWED TO CARRY GUNS!
Burton Knows July 24, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Yolanda: Your missing the point. You CANNOT use deadly force to prevent property theft, period. As far as the laptop goes, that theft could have occurred anywhere--not just B'ham. I take my laptop with me everywhere when in public--yes, even the can. Why present a thief an opportunity.
Burton Knows July 24, 2012 at 04:28 PM
To all: My opinion is just that, an opinion. As a retired police officer, I'm exempt from the current MI requirement of gun free zones. Thus, this is similar to the former general CCW permit that previously existed. Now for the shocker: I don't carry. I haven't sine January 3, 1998--when I retired. I recently let my CCW expire. I got one when I retired because of some previous incidents and threats from several persons I had arrested. Besides, approvals for retired POs are pro forma with county gun boards. The reason I don't carry is the carnage I've seen done by people that believe they know what they're doing with a gun--crook or citizen with a CCW permit. I realize that MI is an "open carry" state. This to me invites more lunacy because persons arming themselves under this law are not required to follow the minimal training requirements to obtain a CCW, or CPL (concealed pistol license). Additionally, let's face it. Until the "lead starts flying" no one knows how they will react. This is not a slight to my fellow cops, any military, or others experienced firearms professional. Training does reduce the potentiality of a negative outcome with a firearm. Even still, mistakes/accidents happen involving professionals. We as a nation need to move beyond our fascination with firearms. The insane tragedy in Aurora, CO should serve as a wake-up call on the availability of guns and the carnage that can result when people can easily obtain weapons.
Danny Griffin July 24, 2012 at 05:01 PM
> The reason I don't carry is the carnage I've seen done by people that believe they know what they're doing with a gun Clarification: the reason you don't carry a gun is because OTHER people don't know what they are doing? Or are you including yourself in this category?
Adam July 24, 2012 at 07:05 PM
So, let me understand this, as a retired police officer I'm sure you've seen your fair shair of innocent victims killed by gun violence at the hands of a criminal with an illegal gun, during home invasions, muggings, and random acts of violence. Your opinion seems to be that its better to be a victim than it is to allow law abiding citizens carry a gun for self defense. When did it become more acceptable to be a victim in society than to carry a gun for self defense? And its not a fascination with firearms as much as it is a tool for self defense, criminals have guns so why shouldnt the law abiding citizens be able to carry a gun and level the playing field?
Burton Knows July 25, 2012 at 03:06 PM
@Adam: Just because you have a gun, the assumption is that you will always be in position to have the advantage against a perpetrator....not so. There is also the assumption of liability. You might not be charged criminally, but can lose everything civil court. I know your saying this isn't what must people think about when faced with a life or death situation. Another fact is that unless the crime victim is "johnny on the spot" i.e., catch the perp in the act, normally you are at the disadvantage, i.e., abruptly waking up, darken environment, not a clean line of fire, etc., I think you get the idea. I've gone to officer involved shootings and tracked discharged rounds a block away. In that instance, the officer had justifiably shot the armed perp, but the round went through the perp and was found in the bedroom wall of a young child that luckily was laying down and not standing up in her room. Needless to say, the PD and city were sued by the parents of this child and received a cash settlement from the city. I'm for defense. But rational defense. And most people in the heat of the moment aren't willing to wait for the right opportunity.
Burton Knows July 25, 2012 at 03:23 PM
Mr. Griffin: Don't have to justify to you...expert shot on .40 caliber Glock and anti-sniper trained, F.A.T.S. training (FireArms Training Simulator). I've got the background. But I also have had the experiences where a "little angel on my shoulder" said, "don't shoot." When the incident played out, if I had shot, I wouldn't be responding to you right now--I would've been in prison. And more than a few of these incidents were "bang, bang" scenarios. Questions to ask yourself: 1) are you willing to shoot when a love one is in the line of fire or its a "you give up the gun or the person dies" situation? I have never surrendered my gun and told everyone I every work with under no condition do they surrender theirs for me. 2) how quickly can you clear you jammed semi-automatic, and reload, as the rounds are firing around you? 3) can you shot from the hip? Most people don't train to do that and want to extend their arm when a person is standing less than 3 ft away. Do that to me, and that gun (and your ass) are mine. 4) Do you know how to stop the slide from going back when the perp has the drop on you? Everything I've told you are the basics...and that's for people who live or die by knowing this so they can collect their (very small) pension. My question to you is how many people know these basics and can carry them out with a sense of proficiency, knowing that even then, they have learned these under controlled situations, and still get "the bad guy?"
Adam July 25, 2012 at 04:13 PM
I still dont quite understand how you can still have your stance considering there are hundreds of times a day where your average citizen uses a firearm for self defense. The defensive use of a firearm is just that, defensive, meaning they were caught off guard. If you knew your attacker was going to attack I doubt you would allow yourself to be in that situation. I understand your experience with over penetration but dont police officers also use FMJ? FMJ's are notorious for over penetration, so I'm not surprised by your statement that you had rounds enter and exit the criminals. However with modern day defensive ammunition, which your civilian population uses in their carry gun, they meet the FBI standard of 10-14 inches of maximum penetration so the odds of over penetration are dramatically reduced. Every day, novice, non military or law enforcement civilians will use a firearm in self defense, a fair percentage of those incidents will include the victim shooting their attacker, so youre assumption that the civilian population just isnt "safe" or "good enough" with a firearm is a moot point because a fireram is used hundreds of times a day by civilians with sometimes very minimum training and they do so quite successfully. According to a study by Newsweek magazine, only 2% of civilian shootings involve an innocent person being shot (not killed). The error rate for police is 11%, therefore you're more likely to be shot accidentally by a cop than by a civilian.
Burton Knows July 25, 2012 at 04:33 PM
@Adam: There's a thing called department policy that dictates the type of round police officers can carry. I retired 14 years ago, so its possible DPD has changed its policy. As far as citing Newsweek magazine as a reputable source for research, I wouldn't necessarily use them unless you have knowledge of the research design they used. There are far better academic research sources on use of force. Also be careful of absolutes, i.e., 2% versus 11%. How are these comparisions made? Additionally, under what circumstances were the data collected? If you remember my scenario about tracking the round, if that child had been standing, and gotten shot, is that an accidental shooting? Again, the nature of the data used and the research design/question are important to me in determining the validity of research (there are other factors, but this isn't a research design/statistics course).
R Jeppostol July 25, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Anyone know if Mr. Combs is planning on filing a lawsuit against the city?
second amendment July 25, 2012 at 06:54 PM
@burton Dpd uses bonded Winchester bullit...ive see some dpd still use fmj...
David Doerr July 26, 2012 at 12:17 AM
@burton, First, thank you very much for your service. Now, with all due respect intended, I think you should keep in mind that your experience could well be that of someone who retired 14 years ago. Fact is, while I'm sure your misgivings are quite justified from your experience, there has been plenty of time/opportunity for reality to prove them, and it simply hasn't. Michigan has had, "shall issue" for over ten years with over 300,000 people licensed to carry. Florida has had theirs over 20 years, and that's just a start as a majority of the states now allow lawful carry in one form or another. Regardless of what your "experience" is (as well as many of the similar beliefs of many others. For they really are just the same tired arguments that the anti-gun crowd has been using for … well, since I can remember.), it's less common than you would think.That "cat" is out of the "bag". The only thing gun restrictions do is burden the law abiding. They don't prevent crime. They don't increase/enhance/improve/etc... Safety. They don't protect,”...The Children!”
Danny Griffin July 26, 2012 at 04:30 AM
@Burton > Mr. Griffin: Don't have to justify to you I wasn't asking you to, I only wanted clarification because your statement was confusing. You stated that you don't carry because of the inadequacy of other people. This made no sense to me. To answer you, I have thought of many common scenarios and how to handle them, realizing that any plan may immediately go out of the window. > how quickly can you clear you jammed semi-automatic, and reload, as the rounds are firing around you? Fairly quickly, I hope. I've never had anyone shoot at me. > can you shot from the hip? Yes. Also other point shoot, shoot from close to body (I always present from body outward), etc. > Do you know how to stop the slide from going back when the perp has the drop on you? Yes, grab the slide, direct first shot away from you. Subsequent rounds won't be loaded. You can grab over, under, behind, it doesn't matter. And yes, you are correct, this is all basic stuff. > My question to you is how many people know these basics and can carry them out with a sense of proficiency, I don't know, but what makes you believe you have the right to prevent others from having any means at their disposal to defend themselves and their loved ones?
Greg Thrasher July 26, 2012 at 01:36 PM
The entire gun debate is meaningless and only driven by special interests groups with a twisted agenda regarding the 2nd amendment. The majority of Americans will never encounter a crime in action. The majority of Americans will never discharge a weapon. The majority of Americans will never become a victim nor for that matter become a criminal. There is nothing fundamentally correct or civil allowing the presence of guns venues from schools to libraries. It is tragic that we have entire industries based upon the sales of guns. Our country of course leads the way in this insanity. America is the #1 arms dealer in the world. We sale weapons to dictators and countries that used our weapons on their own citizens. We now even have a movement in our country where many local governments are purchasing drones for operation on American soil. http://www.voxunion.com/drone-alert/ http://voiceofdetroit.net/2010/12/12/the-crime-of-reporting-crime/
Burton Knows July 27, 2012 at 05:47 PM
@Danny Griffin: Before I head back to the beach (Laguna Beach, CA that is) as I stated when this started over a week ago, this is my opinion. I'm not a legislator, don't belong to any anti-gun interest group, signed any petition, nor contribute money to any anti-gun candidate. If a ballot issue arises, however, where the voter (that means my single vote) can choose to toughen anti-gun legislation I will do so. And similarly, you as a voter can vote against it. No harm, no foul, just democracy at work.
Burton Knows July 27, 2012 at 06:03 PM
@David Doerr: Thank you so for the recognition. It's greatly appreciated. It's too bad that the general malaise in this country on municipal budgets is that deficits can be balanced on the backs of public safety, i.e., first responders, police/fire. etc. I saw with horror where my brothers and sisters in blue with the Detroit Police Department are forced to accept a 20% pay reduction AND a 20% increase in health care contributions under the current financial crisis. The starting wage for a rookie cop in Detroit is between $13-14/hour not including the increased contribution towards healthcare/retirement. Twice I was told by the DPD physician that I could get a duty disability retirement. But I could still walk/talk, was young (and probably a little foolish) and believed, and did, recover from my injuries and went back to full duty. Nobody put a gun to my head to take the job. But I sure as hell believed that my salary/benefits and pension retirement was secure and a agreement between me and the City of Detroit. How stupid I am. You are correct in that the "sky is falling" mentality that most law enforcement officials had regarding loosening CPL laws hasn't occurred. However, restrictions don't burden the public nor prevent one from protecting their loved ones, particularly in a person's home. That doesn't calm me on increase gun availability.

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