So if a business discriminates against certain groups of lawful people and prevent these people from enjoying the free exercise of their RIGHTS, then maybe this business should fall into legal trouble with the deliberate singling certain people out to not only deny their rights under the Constitution, but to conduct wanton discrimination against them. Frankly these agree to allow the public by opening the business as a PUBLIC business and not a private members only club like a sams club or cosco. In my humble opinion anyone who is against the Constitution is a traitor. If they with total disregard to and or prevent the people or certain people their Constitutional rights then they in fact have forfeited theirs by doing so and willingly I might add.
I find the contradictions glaring that in our society one can not discriminate due to race yet can due to class. We are a nation in decline.
Dear Mr. Eastmeyers
Since you were kind enough to respond in a such a polite manner, I will do as you suggested and begin a new thread. The essence of this is my contention that a “No Firearms” sign at the entrance to a business is a proper form of notice under Michigan’s trespass law. Ignoring the sign and entering the premises constitutes a trespass. While unlikely - an individual who does so could be charged and sued civilly. A trespass would also occur in there were no sign or other form of notice at the entry but an authorized person requested that you depart and you did not do so. In both cases there was a restriction (no firearms) and notice (the sign or a person telling you). If you believe the second (personal notice) is correct then you must explain why the first (a sign) is not. Neither is specified in the law. Here goes:
MCL 750.552 Trespass upon lands or premises of another; penalty.
Any person who shall wilfully enter, upon the lands or premises of another without lawful authority, after having been forbidden so to do by the owner or occupant, agent or servant of the owner or occupant, or any person being upon the land or premises of another, upon being notified to depart therefrom by the owner or occupant, the agent or servant of either, who without lawful authority neglects or refuses to depart therefrom, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than 30 days or by a fine of not more than $50.00, or both, in the discretion of the court.
History: Add. 1951, Act 102, Imd. Eff. May 31, 1951
What is trespass in our context? The above section says it all. Intentionally going on/into somebody else’s property after having been advised not to do so. Do you agree so far?
Ok. To make things simple let us say we are talking about a business rather than a residence or private land. We probably agree that said business is generally open to the public during certain hours. Now the question is whether or not the owner of the business may place certain requirement upon the members of the public who wish to enter the building. I think that we would further agree that restrictions that are in violation of other state or federal laws cannot be enforced. Thus the owner cannot refuse entry to a person because of his race, religion, sex, color, age. Now some of these restrictions are local or state and may not apply in all cases. In some instances, subsets of these categories may be refused entry - under 21 in a bar or liquor store, men in a women-only spa (allowable in WI). Ok, so far? So other than these types of limitations a business owner is free to set conditions upon entry (provided that the condition is not a pretext for otherwise unlawful behavior or has a disparate impact upon a certain group. Examples might be refusing entry to those who aren’t wearing a skirt or dress or those that are wearing headgear). So an owner may restrict entry to only those who are wearing some sort of shirt (a upper body covering) - be it a t-shirt, blouse, guyabera, etc. or who are not eating or smoking (in those places where smoking is not altogether banned.) In synch?
This is a way for the owner to withdraw the otherwise general consent a public business implies. Now the question is how the owner may communicate the restriction on entry. I gather that if he stood at the entrance and told those in violation of the restriction that they could not enter, that would “carry the weight of law” in your opinion and that him saying “I don’t allow firearms in my store” is a way of communicating the restriction.
So we come to a sign. What is a sign? It is a means of communicating using written language. When you roll up to that red, octagonal piece of metal on a post with the letters STOP on it, you understand that (a) you are receiving a communication from a governmental body and (b) you are required to bring your vehicle to a standstill. Note that the mayor or public works director or police officer was not standing there, waving vigorously and shouting for you to halt. Even if vandals had painted the sign green or deleted a letter, you would recognize the sign and what it means.
You concede that a No Trespassing sign “carries the weight of law” and has the meaning that nobody is authorized to entry or conversely, that the owner has forbidden entry (to everyone). In the case of our store where, by default, everybody is authorized to enter so how, other than standing at the entrance as described, may the owner forbid entry by people with certain characteristics? In a movie theater you might see a sign that says “No Outside Food” or at a restaurant “Service Animals Only” - do these carry the “weight of law”? The word “trespass” is not to be found. The owner nonetheless has forbidden entry. In the case of the theater, to someone with fried chicken stuffed in his shorts. In the case of the restaurant, to the owner of a pet ferret. Unless specified by statute, no particular wording is required. It is enough to have a sign that contains words that convey the restriction to the average person and place the sign so it can reasonably be seen. Thus “No Firearms” is conveying a restriction (or condition) to entry. Ignoring that restriction is a trespass.
Likewise unless otherwise specified by statute, personal notice is sufficient but not required. Personal notice is more likely when there is no notice upon entry and the person is being asked to leave. Then refusal to leave is a trespass. However, when notice has already been given at an access point, the trespass occurs upon entry - when the restriction imposed has been violated. It may be that the owner chooses to ask the person to leave to maintain a peaceful atmosphere but that is a gratuitous gesture on his part. In some states, refusal to leave upon personal notice is a graver offense because of the possibly of confrontation and may be called “criminal trespass” or “aggravated trespass.” Often nonviolent, nondestructive trespass is not prosecuted or sued civilly because it is a low priority or recovery would be minimal or nonexistent. This does not mean that a trespass has not occurred.
In view of all this, except as described above, and in Michigan, a sign “carries the weight of law” in that it can communicate a restriction that, a violation of which constitutes a trespass. The statute doesn’t talk about personal notice, signs or smoke signals because it doesn’t have to. All of these are contained in the concepts of “forbid” and “notify.”
It is an Old Wives’ Tale that “signs carry no legal weight” in regard to carrying a firearm and trespass. In some instances (often crop fields and certainly residences) no notice whatsoever is required. It is held that it is intuitively obvious that some places are meant to exclude others.
One last thing - Wisconsin's new law is interesting in that a posted notice on land (only land - not buildings, etc.) does not apply to a licensee if the intent of the owner is to prevent carrying a firearm on the land (vs for some other reason). This would be a case of the sign having no legal weight (at least viz a viz a licensee).