Police responded to Clio’s Edgerton Elementary after a man open carried a pistol on his hip into the school Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013. CLIO, MI – A judge has ruled that a Clio-area father can legally open carry his pistol inside of his daughter’s elementary school despite a legal challenge from the school district. Genesee Circuit Judge Archie Hayman on Monday, Aug. 10, ruled in favor of Kenneth Herman, who filed the lawsuit March 5 in Genesee County Circuit Court against the Clio Area School District after he was denied access to Edgerton Elementary multiple times while attempting to pick up his daughter because he was open-carrying a pistol.
“The ruling today does not come as a surprise, the law is the law,” Herman said after Hayman’s decision. “Now that Clio Area Schools have heard the ruling, read the laws and the Court of Appeals case law has been explained to them, I they stop burning through tax dollars fighting the law and common sense.” School officials and district attorney, Timothy Mullins, could not be reached for comment on the decision.
Herman sued the district after it declared all of its properties weapon-free zones and banned him from openly carrying his firearm in its buildings. State law prevents people from carrying concealed firearms on school property. However, the law allows individuals with concealed pistol licenses to openly carry their firearms in schools. Herman is a CPL holder. The district in July filed a motion asking Hayman to dismiss the entire case because it claims it is based on a “fundamental misunderstanding of Michigan Law.” Much of Herman’s lawsuit focused on a 2012 Michigan Court of Appeals decision stemming from a case that involved Michigan Open Carry. The decision stopped a Lansing library group from banning the open-carrying of firearms on its properties. But the district argued Herman and Michigan Open Carry are incorrectly interpreting the appeals court decision, saying the ruling does not apply to school districts. The district argued that state law allows districts to enact policies to safeguard students and, therefore, allows them to institute firearm bans.
But, Hayman sided with Herman and Michigan Open Carry’s argument that the ability to create local weapon policies is beyond the legal authority of the school district and its attempt to do so intrudes upon the lawmaking authority of the state, which has created laws to allow open carry of firearms on school grounds for some people. Herman said he hopes Clio school officials do not violate Hayman’s order and he looks forward to carrying his firearm in the future. The Ann Arbor school district is also named in a similar, separate lawsuit filed after the district banned guns on school property.