I am an attorney in Traverse City and an expert on firearm laws. I am a Marine veteran, National Rifle Association-certified firearms instructor, and I currently sit on the Grand Traverse County Concealed Weapons Licensing Board.
The Record-Eagle’s May 25 editorial prompted me write this Forum.The legality of open carry in schools is not new; it’s always been the law.
It does seem to come to the forefront on occasion when some reporter stumbles on the “quirk” in the law and wants to report about the topic. This “quirk” was to be “fixed” by legislation that was ultimately vetoed by Gov. Snyder in 2012. That legislation would have prohibited open carry in schools but allowed concealed carry. That is what most people wanted, but the irrationality surrounding the Sandy Hook shooting sunk that legislation.
I think you have it wrong about the Andy Marek situation. He went to a school board meeting in January and made no issue or drew any attention to his firearm. It wasn’t until May when the Record-Eagle published an article that mentioned the act and his name. This was hardly a campaign stunt.
Folks need to understand something about citizens who carry for self-defense. I know Mr. Marek a bit and I know he didn’t carry to intimidate anyone, he didn’t carry because school buildings are dangerous places, he didn’t carry to provide security to anyone other than himself, and he didn’t carry in response to any particular threat.
Many people, for various reasons, are awake to the fact that the world can be a dangerous place and it’s good to be prepared to defend themselves against criminals and violent individuals.
People serious about protecting themselves and their loved ones make carrying a firearm part of their lifestyle. They carry nearly all the time and nearly everywhere they go. A firearm is useless unless you have it with you when you need it. I am sure Mr. Marek put his gun on that morning the same as every other morning and he didn’t give a thought about where he was going throughout this day. In order to ensure he complied with the law, he was forced to open carry while in that administrative building. I am sure he would have preferred to keep his firearm concealed but that “quirk” in the law says no.