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Thread: Grand Rapids response to Firearm Ordinance

  1. #1
    Regular Member Tucker6900's Avatar
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    Grand Rapids response to Firearm Ordinance

    Here is the city attorneys response to my email to them regarding their ordinance.

    Mr. Clark:

    Mayor Heartwell forwarded your message to me, and asked me to reply to your inquiry.

    Thank you for your e-mail. You are not the first open carry advocate to raise this issue with the City of Grand Rapids and other Michigan communities which have similar local ordinance provisions. Please be assured that the City of Grand Rapids has no animosity to the rights of its citizens to legally carry and/or possess firearms.

    You have objected to the following language contained in the City Code:
    Sec. 9.173. Carrying.
    No person shall carry any firearm upon his or her person in any public street, alley or other place open to the public in the City of Grand Rapids unless:
    (1) The person has been issued a valid license to do so as provided by Act 372 of Michigan Public Acts of 1927, as amended (MCL 28.421 et seq.), or
    (2) All ammunition has been removed from the chamber, cylinder, clip or magazine of the firearm and the firearm has been noticeably rendered inoperable by being broken down or disassembled or is completely enclosed within a case or other similar container.

    Sec. 9.175. Exceptions.
    The prohibitions in Sections 9.172, 9.173 and 9.174 hereof do not apply:

    (1) To persons acting in the lawful defense of person, property or family.
    (2) To police officers or other officers of the law in the lawful discharge of their duty.
    (3) To authorized military parades by permission of the Director of Public Safety.
    (4) To indoor enclosed firearm ranges so constructed as to prevent damage to property or injury or death to any person where such firearm ranges are otherwise lawful; provided, however, that the discharge of a bow and arrow is permitted upon unenclosed ranges where such ranges are constructed so as to prevent damage to property or injury or death to any person.


    Your e-mail argues that City ordinance section 9.173, cited above is preempted by Michigan law, specifically that set forth at MCL 123.1102,
    which I have also set forth below:

    123.1102. Local government regulation of firearms and ammunition generally
    Sec. 2. A local unit of government shall not impose special taxation on, enact or enforce any ordinance or regulation pertaining to, or regulate in any other manner the ownership, registration, purchase, sale, transfer, transportation, or possession of pistols or other firearms, ammunition for pistols or other firearms, or components of pistols or other firearms, except as otherwise provided by federal law or a law of this state.

    I do not believe that the City’s ordinance, by itself, is in violation of State law. If you look again at City Code Section 9.173, that local ordinance references persons who have been issued valid licenses pursuant to MCL 28.421 et seq. The Latin phrase et seq. means, roughly, “and the following” sections. Thus, the City Code is referencing several state law provisions, including but not limited to: (1) MCL 28.421a et seq., (which establishes a standardized system for the issuance of concealed pistol licenses), and also MCL 28.422 (which requires individuals to obtain pistol purchase licenses). Additional sections of State law regarding firearms are also referenced as well. These are simply examples.

    Therefore, City Code section 9.173 does not prohibit a person who legally purchased a pistol through obtaining a pistol purchase permit, or a person with a valid CPL (who does not need a separate purchase permit in order to purchase another handgun) from carrying the firearm – openly or concealed – within the City limits. Both of those classes of individuals have been issued “a valid license to do so as provided by Act 372 of Michigan Public Acts of 1927, as amended (MCL 28.421 et seq.)”.

    However, I would be remiss if I did not mention that it remains illegal to flourish and/or brandish a firearm, both in the City of Grand Rapids and indeed the entire State of Michigan, regardless of whether an individual is in lawful possession of that firearm. This is true under City Code (section 9.172), and also under Michigan law (MCL 750.234e).

    City Code Sec. 9.172. Discharging or Flourishing.
    No person shall discharge any firearm in the City of Grand Rapids, and no person shall draw, handle or flourish any firearm in any public street, alley or other place open to the public in the City of Grand Rapids.


    State Law, MCL 750.234e. Knowingly brandishing firearm in public

    Sec. 234e. (1) Except as provided in subsection (2), a person shall not knowingly brandish a firearm in public.

    (2) Subsection (1) does not apply to any of the following:
    (a) A peace officer lawfully performing his or her duties as a peace officer.
    (b) A person lawfully engaged in hunting.
    (c) A person lawfully engaged in target practice.
    (d) A person lawfully engaged in the sale, purchase, repair, or transfer of that firearm.
    (3) A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or a fine of not more than $100.00, or both.

    Your e-mail references “the illegal detainment of law abiding citizens” who might choose to openly carry a firearm.

    As the chief prosecuting attorney for all alleged violations of Grand Rapids City Code, I can tell you that I have clearly instructed my staff that the City shall not attempt to prosecute any individual for legally carrying a firearm within the City limits. This includes training and information for City staff, including police officers, on open carry rights in the State of Michigan. I do not believe it to be the case that any individuals are illegally detained in the City of Grand Rapids, with regard to openly carrying firearms.

    I respect those individuals who lawfully possess and lawfully utilize firearms, particularly those individuals who have made the additional effort of obtaining a CPL permit. That is a time intensive and costly process, and I believe that the statistics readily show that very few CPL holders commit violations of law involving their licensed weapons.

    Thank you for your interest in Grand Rapids City government.

    If you have any further questions on this topic or any other, please feel free to contact me.



    Sincerely,
    Catherine M. Mish
    City Attorney

  2. #2
    Campaign Veteran Schlitz's Avatar
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    Wtf did I just read... I do believe this man was serious...

    Carry with out a permit and take them to court. What a joke.
    Last edited by Schlitz; 07-27-2011 at 10:37 AM.
    “The claim and exercise of a constitutional right cannot be converted into a crime.”
    [Miller vs. U.S., 230 F. Supp. 486, 489 (1956)]
    “There can be no sanction or penalty imposed upon one because of his exercise of constitutional rights.”
    [Sherar vs. Cullen, 481 F2d. 946 (1973)]

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    It was a good response overall. He seems to have a good handle on things.

    He isnt talking about bothering people without a CPL, as he pointed out with cite, the purchase permit is good enough.

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    I hate these kinds of ordinances because it puts the onus on the citizen to look up all the MCL exemptions...BUT, it appears this ordinance is lawful.

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    So according to the ordinance in gr, it is unlawful for a person to oc a firearm that does not require a purchase permit.
    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (who will watch the watchmen?)

    I am not a lawyer. Nothing in any of posts should be construed as legal advice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lapeer20m View Post
    So according to the ordinance in gr, it is unlawful for a person to oc a firearm that does not require a purchase permit.
    Good point. I suppose someone could remind their attorney it's legal to OC long arms.

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    Regular Member TheQ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scot623 View Post
    Good point. I suppose someone could remind their attorney it's legal to OC long arms.
    And BP pistols
    Call for a cop, call for an ambulance, and call for a pizza. See who shows up first.

    I am not a lawyer (merely an omnipotent member of a continuum). The contents of this post are not a substitute for sound legal advice from a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction.

    Comments and views stated in my post are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of Michigan Open Carry, Inc. unless stated otherwise in the post.

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    Regular Member Bronson's Avatar
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    I should be a city attorney because I said the same thing he did

    But then I was reminded of this:

    Quote Originally Posted by lapeer20m View Post
    So according to the ordinance in gr, it is unlawful for a person to oc a firearm that does not require a purchase permit.
    Which would be long arms which are legal per the state.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheQ View Post
    And BP pistols
    I don't think BP pistols would fall under the GR ordinance since 28.432 specifically exempts an "antique firearm" from having to be licensed and as previously noted 28.432 is included in the "et seq." If it is a modern BP pistol that doesn't meet the definition provided in 750.231a to be an antique or replica antique it would have to be licensed under 28.422 then it too would be legal.

    So it would appear that the issue is long arms...which we can't discuss here.

    Bronson
    Those who expect to reap the benefits of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it. – Thomas Paine

  9. #9
    Regular Member Greyh Seer's Avatar
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    What if I buy a pistol with a CPL and then allow my CPL to expire...

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    Regular Member Tucker6900's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greyh Seer View Post
    What if I buy a pistol with a CPL and then allow my CPL to expire...
    I think Im picking up your sarcasm, but it would be the same as buying one with a permit to purchase.

  11. #11
    Anti-Saldana Freedom Fighter Venator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schlitz View Post
    Wtf did I just read... I do believe this man was serious...

    Carry with out a permit and take them to court. What a joke.
    It's a she not a he and I have had some run-ins with her. She accused me of being a terrorist for wanting them to remove the no weapons sign in the GRPD's lobby. She was defensive, insulting and nasty.

    That was 3 years ago. When I read this reply I couldn't believe it was the same person so I had to read the signature hoping they got a new attorney...no such luck.
    An Amazon best seller "MY PARENTS OPEN CARRY" http://www.myparentsopencarry.com/

    *The information contained above is not meant to be legal advice, but is solely intended as a starting point for further research. These are my opinions, if you have further questions it is advisable to seek out an attorney that is well versed in firearm law.

  12. #12
    Anti-Saldana Freedom Fighter Venator's Avatar
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    repeat
    Last edited by Venator; 07-27-2011 at 07:35 PM. Reason: repeat
    An Amazon best seller "MY PARENTS OPEN CARRY" http://www.myparentsopencarry.com/

    *The information contained above is not meant to be legal advice, but is solely intended as a starting point for further research. These are my opinions, if you have further questions it is advisable to seek out an attorney that is well versed in firearm law.

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    This is why it is important for those who decide to buy and carry a firearm to make sure they learn about the laws.

    As much as it sucks, this law to me seems to be written simply so the police have something to use for intimidation and adding additional charges onto people who didn't legally obtain their firearm.

  14. #14
    Activist Member hamaneggs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dragongtr View Post
    This is why it is important for those who decide to buy and carry a firearm to make sure they learn about the laws.

    As much as it sucks, this law to me seems to be written simply so the police have something to use for intimidation and adding additional charges onto people who didn't legally obtain their firearm.
    Those who do not legally obtain their firearms should be intimidated and charged!It is possible for citizens who do not know these laws to be charged by LEO's who do not know these laws.Hopefully they would get a lawyer who does know the laws,but it will cost the citizen anyway.Thats the catch!
    Last edited by hamaneggs; 07-27-2011 at 08:58 PM.
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    Michigan Moderator DrTodd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Venator View Post
    It's a she not a he and I have had some run-ins with her. She accused me of being a terrorist for wanting them to remove the no weapons sign in the GRPD's lobby. She was defensive, insulting and nasty.

    That was 3 years ago. When I read this reply I couldn't believe it was the same person so I had to read the signature hoping they got a new attorney...no such luck.
    I thought it was a different person too and, like you I looked up the response I got ohhh so long ago. It appears that we need to get more people OCing in the area. I think until such time, they will see OC as just something a very few "PIAs" from the area do.
    Giving up our liberties for safety is the one sure way to let the violent among us win.

    "Though defensive violence will always be a 'sad necessity' in the eyes of men of principle, it would be still more unfortunate if wrongdoers should dominate just men." -Saint Augustine

    Disclaimer – I am not a lawyer! Please do not consider anything you read from me to be legal advice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hamaneggs View Post
    Those who do not legally obtain their firearms should be intimidated and charged!It is possible for citizens who do not know these laws to be charged by LEO's who do not know these laws.Hopefully they would get a lawyer who does know the laws,but it will cost the citizen anyway.Thats the catch!
    I dont think there should be any gun laws to charge a person with. Shall not be infringed and Luke 22:36 should be enough.

    If someone robs, or kills, or commits any other crime, then it is already covered elsewhere in the law. No special laws are needed because someone used a specific tool improperly.

  17. #17
    Michigan Moderator DrTodd's Avatar
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    My issue is with the word "flourish"-
    "City Code Sec. 9.172. Discharging or Flourishing.
    No person shall discharge any firearm in the City of Grand Rapids, and no person shall draw, handle or flourish any firearm in any public street, alley or other place open to the public in the City of Grand Rapids. "

    The word "flourish" is even more vague than "brandish"; although it can mean "(of a person) Wave (something) around to attract the attention of others", it can also mean "A bold or extravagant gesture or action, made esp. to attract the attention of others"... I could see them saying that we are trying to get the attention of others.
    Of course, any regulation of firearms other than what is mentioned in state law is preempted, but there may be an attempt to harass someone with a possible citation.

    cite: http://tiny.cc/m6nuv
    Giving up our liberties for safety is the one sure way to let the violent among us win.

    "Though defensive violence will always be a 'sad necessity' in the eyes of men of principle, it would be still more unfortunate if wrongdoers should dominate just men." -Saint Augustine

    Disclaimer – I am not a lawyer! Please do not consider anything you read from me to be legal advice.

  18. #18
    Regular Member DanM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrTodd View Post
    "and no person shall draw, [or] handle . . . any firearm in any public street, alley or other place open to the public"
    And that clearly violates preemption, as many forms of drawing and handling in public are in the course of lawful firearm carry or use. Such as preparing to transport, especially for citizens who do not have a CPL.
    "The principle of self-defense, even involving weapons and bloodshed, has never been condemned, even by Gandhi . . ."--Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

    “He who cannot protect himself or his nearest and dearest or their honor by non-violently facing death, may and ought to do so by violently dealing with the oppressor. He who can do neither of the two is a burden.”--M. K. Gandhi

    "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." --M. K. Gandhi

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanM View Post
    And that clearly violates preemption, as many forms of drawing and handling in public are in the course of lawful firearm carry or use. Such as preparing to transport, especially for citizens who do not have a CPL.
    Or even displaying the firearm in the course of a sale.

  20. #20
    Regular Member DanM's Avatar
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    I think Tucker6900 now has some rebuttal material he can send back to the city attorney to demonstrate that the ordinance is definitely illegal as written.
    "The principle of self-defense, even involving weapons and bloodshed, has never been condemned, even by Gandhi . . ."--Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

    “He who cannot protect himself or his nearest and dearest or their honor by non-violently facing death, may and ought to do so by violently dealing with the oppressor. He who can do neither of the two is a burden.”--M. K. Gandhi

    "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." --M. K. Gandhi

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