(MI) Ferndale taking another 'shot' at banning guns


PDA






Drizzt
August 10, 2005, 02:28 AM
Libraries vs. guns

Web-posted Aug 8, 2005

City of Ferndale waged war against weapons in public buildings before - and lost

By CAROL HOPKINS
Of The Oakland Press

The words are still there in red on the Ferndale Public Library's front door.

"Absolutely no weapons including those permitted by concealed weapons law may be brought into this facility."

The statement remains, even though the courts have said the rule is not enforceable for properly registered concealed weapons.

In 2001, Ferndale's City Council took a bold stand and voted to ban guns from its city buildings.

The move - called groundbreaking by some - spurred other cities to take similar stands. Soon Detroit, East Lansing, Saline and others had passed their own bans.

A gun rights group, Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners, took Ferndale to court.

Talk of Ferndale's gun fight came up recently when, in June, the Waterford Township Board of Trustees approved new library rules that included prohibiting guns inside the library.

Gun rights advocates protested, saying the township could not ban guns, quoting from the rulings made during the Ferndale effort.

Ferndale bans guns

Sometime in 2001, Ferndale City Council member Jonathan Warshay attended the funeral of a teenage nephew who was murdered by someone using a handgun in Detroit.

"He proposed an ordinance to prohibit firearms in public buildings," said Tom Barwin, Ferndale city manager.

The ruling included all city buildings but didn't involve parks.

"We wanted to keep weapons out of municipal buildings," said Warshay. "We were concerned for the safety of the public and employees. No one needs a weapon to transact business with the city. Our ordinance covered weapons of various types, not just guns. The ordinance was narrowly tailored for an important public purpose."

The ban came around the time the state's more lenient concealed weapons permit statute took effect. That law does not allow concealed weapons in sports stadiums, schools, bars, day care centers and other places, but does not exempt municipal buildings.

"As soon as the Legislature expanded the concealed weapons laws, the state courts enacted rules to ban weapons from courthouses," said Warshay

The courts are able to keep weapons out because the state constitution gives courts the authority to make their own rules, Warshay said.

Immediately, the Ferndale ban was challenged by representatives of the National Rifle Association, Barwin said, and the city found itself in court defending the ordinance.

"We argued cities should have the right to police and manage their own buildings. We said it was important to make the case to keep handguns out of libraries."

The city's insurance carrier handled most of the legal fees, Barwin said.

The case began winding its way through the courts.

The courts rule

In 2002, an Oakland County Circuit Court judge upheld Ferndale's ordinance, and the gun rights group appealed.

In May 2003, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that communities can't add restrictions to state rules on where gun owners can carry weapons.

In September, 2003, when the Ferndale backers carried the case to the Michigan Supreme Court, the court refused to hear an appeal of the decision, assuring the victory to gun rights groups.

Reflections on the ban

Robert Porter, Ferndale's current mayor and a City Council member during the time of the ban, never backed the ordinance.

"It would have been a feel-good measure," he said. "The only way to enforce it would have been to put a security guard and metal detector at every door.

"Obviously, in today's economy, there is no way we'd be able to do that."

The idea is good, he said, "but it's just not enforceable."

Ferndale Library Director Mary Trenner remembers only one time, years ago, when someone brought a gun into the library.

"He was an undercover plainclothes officer with a gun on his belt," she says. "We said, 'Sir, we don't allow guns in here,' and he pointed at his badge and didn't remove the gun.

"He conducted his business and left."

She explained that if a patron brought a weapon in and staff were disturbed, "they would come to me and then we'd contact the police," she said.

Mike Lennon, now a council member, was a Ferndale police officer during the ban.

"It didn't go over well with the law enforcement community," he said. "Even if you were off-duty paying a water bill, you couldn't carry your gun into City Hall."

He doesn't like the idea that the signs are still up on buildings.

"It needs to be removed, because (carrying) is no longer a violation. It's like keeping up a stop sign when you've made a dead-end street."

He advises Waterford Township to drop any idea of banning guns: "They'd just be throwing money away to fight that."

Waterford Township Supervisor Carl Solden agrees.

"I see no reason why we should not follow the state law on (concealed weapons) permits," Solden said. "There is no sense creating a situation where we could face a lawsuit and spend money on defending ourselves in a losing battle, like Ferndale already did.

"The stage has apparently been set, why fight it?"

Ferndale City Manager Barwin feels otherwise, and wants the township to try again.

"My feeling is the public is very supportive (of the gun ban).

"Hopefully, the lawyers will look at the decision and see if there can be any modification to our ordinance."

Waterford meeting

The Waterford Township Board of Trustees will discuss the issue of carrying guns into its library during a meeting at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 22.

http://www.theoaklandpress.com/stories/080805/loc_200508080006.shtml

If you enjoyed reading about "(MI) Ferndale taking another 'shot' at banning guns" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
hifi
August 10, 2005, 04:25 AM
It's too bad legislators don't have anything better to do nowadays than mess with law abiding citizens. But then I guess that's been a theme throughout history, hasn't it?

71Commander
August 10, 2005, 06:25 AM
It's Waterford that's trying to ban the guns. Ferndale is offering support. There is a meeting on the 22nd in Waterford and I will be there.

It's two Democrat members of Waterford's council that opposes guns in the Library. They wonder why anyone would need a gun in a Library. :banghead: I worry about the parking lot to and from. A few years back, a Librarian was killed in the parking lot of the Library she worked in. I bet at the last moment of her life, she wished she had a gun. Her husband set it up to kill her and he is in prison, but this is besides the fact. She needed a gun and didn't have it.

Mixlesplick
August 10, 2005, 08:48 AM
I haven't seen any No Guns signs on this side of the state (West Michigan), even on private buildings. I carry to the library all the time... and the police station when I have to go there. The only place I haven't been able to carry that I have to visit is the courts building where I have to pick up my CPL. It has guards and metal detectors and of course the court rooms which is why I can't carry there. It is a hassle to remove the gun and case it and lock it in my truck. I always expect someone to see me doing that and run to one of the many cops around the courts building screaming, "He's got a gun! He's got a gun!" Never mind that an openly displayed pistol in a car is still legally considered concealed.

If Waterford, or any other city, decides to ban guns in libraries I hope someone sues the snot out of the city. :evil:

jefnvk
August 10, 2005, 12:37 PM
It never ceases to amuse me how someone that is willing to kill someone will follow the rules regarding carrying of a weapon :scrutiny:

I still don't care much for that southern half of the state.

Barbara
August 10, 2005, 07:47 PM
They can't enforce a gun ban in their library. At most, they can put up a sign that says guns are banned..the one in Ferndale is still posted, for what its worth. By the same token, I can put up a sign in front of my house banning people from driving by but that won't make it enforceable.

71Commander
August 10, 2005, 07:55 PM
I still don't care much for that southern half of the state.

Hey.................. I'm down here for a few more years yet. :cool: :o

jefnvk
August 10, 2005, 09:36 PM
No quealm with some of the people, got some friends down there myself. Just when you get past Flint, and everything pretty much becomes one big city, its not my place.

If there were ever a movement to make the UP the 51st state, I'd support it. Even more so if it included the upper lower peninsula.

Barbara
August 10, 2005, 09:40 PM
Spoken like someone who's never been to Hillsdale. :)

SteveS
August 11, 2005, 01:42 PM
If there were ever a movement to make the UP the 51st state, I'd support it. Even more so if it included the upper lower peninsula.

There have been some movements to do this. IIRC, there was one back in the '70's. Some wanted to legalize gambling and prostitution for revenue. Marquette could have been the Las Vegas of the north.

another okie
August 11, 2005, 03:32 PM
I love the arrogance of this statement:

"We argued cities should have the right to police and manage their own buildings."

Those buildings belong to the public. The public paid for them with taxes paid under threat of imprisonment for failure to pay. The "government" is not like, say, Ford Motor Company or John Q. Doe, who paid for their property from their own money.

71Commander
August 11, 2005, 05:34 PM
The public paid for them with taxes paid under threat of imprisonment for failure to pay.

As I previously stated, I am going to the meeting in Waterford on the 22nd. I may use this. :)

If you enjoyed reading about "(MI) Ferndale taking another 'shot' at banning guns" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!