Amicus Brief

Capital Area District Library v MI Open Carry

Case Year: 2013
Case Forum: Michigan Supreme Court
Keywords: district library, open carry, preemption, pre-emption, local control, weapons policy
Amicus Counsel:

Thomas R. Schultz (P 42111) | Johnson, Rosati, Schultz & Joppich, P.C. | 34405 W. Twelve Mile Road Suite 200 | Farmington Hills, MI 48331-5627 | 248-489-4100

CoAmicus Parties:

Michigan Association of Police Chiefs


MCl 123.1102 says exactly to whom it was intended to apply. District libraries are not on that list. The Court of Appeals’ decision should therefore have ended with its acknowledgment of that fact. For the Court of Appeals to continue its analysis and find that the legislature impliedly intended to cover district libraries like CADL within that list violates every canon of statutory construction requiring courts to apply statutory language as written. CADL is a creature of both the state constitution (Const 1963, art 8, § 9) and a state statute, the DLEA, both of which authorize the weapons policy, as even the Court of Appeals adrnits. CADL’s policy relating to weapons in its buildings is one of purely local concern-and of local responsibility-and had the Court of Appeals in this case given the required deference to CADL’s broad constitutional and statutory authority under those laws it would have had to reach a finding of no implied preemption.


Michigan Supreme Court:
The application for leave to appeal the October 25, 2012 judgment of the Court of Appeals is considered, and it is DENIED, because we are not persuaded that the questions presented should be reviewed by this Court.

MSC requested LDF amicus brief? No

CADL is a district library established pursuant to the DLEA and a district-library agreement executed by the city of Lansing and Ingham County on March 10, 1997. CADL has branches throughout Ingham County. It is funded by property taxes and state assistance; it also receives distributions of penal fines. Seven members constitute its operating board. Municipalities within the district appoint the board members; however, the board members operate independently of the municipalities. Under the DLEA, the operating board has the authority to adopt bylaws and regulations. CADL’s operating board adopted a code of conduct that contains the following weapons policy, which is the subject of this litigation: “All weapons are banned from Library premises to the fullest extent permitted by law.”
MOC is a Michigan nonprofit corporation. According to MOC, its objectives are to “protect our right to self-defense,” “educate and desensitize the public and members of the law enforcement community about the legality of the open carry of a handgun in public,” “exercise a natural right to self defense using . . . a handgun,” and “demonstrate to the public at large that gun owners are one of the most lawful segments of society and that they have nothing to fear from the lawful carry of a firearm.” One method MOC uses to accomplish these purposes is to hold “informal gatherings in public places throughout the state while [openly carrying] our handguns.”
On multiple occasions between December 2010 and February 2011, individual members of MOC openly carried guns in CADL’s downtown Lansing branch. One occasion allegedly involved a person carrying a shotgun. Some library patrons and employees were disturbed by the presence of exposed firearms. CADL believes that Michigan law permits it to prohibit the open carrying of firearms on its premises. Accordingly, when a person openly carries a handgun on CADL’s premises, one of CADL’s security guards asks the person to leave. Generally, the person complies with the security guard’s request. If the person does not comply with the request, a security guard will stay near the person until he or she leaves the library. Initially, CADL’s employees called the Lansing police when a person openly carrying a firearm entered the library. However, the Lansing police refused to remove the person without a court order.

Case Number: 2012-20
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