gun rights

Michigan State University College of Arts and Sciences

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - Figures that appear to be holding guns and binoculars stand sentry on a downtown Grand Rapids rooftop.

They are a statement of art, not a call to arms.

The Grand Rapids Press reports  Saturday that crews have been installing "...there's something happening here..." on the roof and terrace of the Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts. The work is Henry Brimmer's fourth entry in Michigan's annual ArtPrize competition, which opens Sept. 24.

Most of us don’t completely trust the government. We certainly don’t want government to be able to prevent us from getting information we want or need.

We are against governments suppressing information…unless it is stuff that we personally want suppressed.Then that’s different, of course.

I thought of that this week when Governor Rick Snyder signed legislation that prevents the press or public from being able to get gun records. From now on, we will be unable to find out who owns guns, and who has permits and licenses to have them.

Well, conservatives and gun lovers are thrilled about this, and I’m not surprised. For some reason, those who most feel the need to be heavily armed seem also to be the most paranoid. 

State Representative Aric Nesbitt, who enthusiastically backed these bills, said: “By allowing publication of private information about gun owners, some other states have put gun owners and their neighbors at risk. We want to prevent that from happening."

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Supporters and opponents of expanding background checks for gun buyers in Michigan were at the state capitol today.

House Bill 4774 has sat in the state House Judiciary committee for a year without ever being brought up for a committee hearing.  

The bill would expand state background checks to include long guns.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

LANSING – The House moved to broaden gun owners' rights Thursday by voting to reaffirm the confidential status of gun records, clarify the definition of "brandishing" a gun and lift a ban on short-barreled rifles.

A Republican package of bills passed by a wide margin, with 81-28 being the closest vote. The bills would codify a 1999 Michigan Supreme Court decision that found the disclosure of gun registry records to be "a clearly unwarranted invasion of an individual's privacy."

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Supporters of Michigan’s laws allowing people to openly carry guns plan to march through Grand Rapids this afternoon.

They’re supporting Johann Deffert, a Grand Rapids resident who’s suing the city in federal court. Deffert claims his constitutional rights were violated a year ago when Grand Rapids police briefly detained him for openly carrying a gun as he walked through a residential neighborhood.

For more than a year, open-carry advocates have been demanding Grand Rapids repeal a local ordinance they believe is unconstitutional.

Moms Demand Action facebook page

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - About 200 people have turned out at the Michigan Capitol for a rally in favor of putting more restrictions on gun ownership.

They shared the grounds Saturday with dozens of other people who are opposed to new restrictions.

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero told the crowd that "sensible gun laws," not more guns, will make communities safer. The rally included the five Michigan chapters of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. Survivors of gun violence also attended.

Kelley Cawthorne / Facebook

Hundreds of people came to the state Capitol today to voice their support for pro-gun legislation.

Many openly carried firearms, which is allowed in and around the Capitol building.

Jim Gulliksen is with the Michigan Militia Corps of Wolverines.

He says he’s happy that state lawmakers have taken up a number of pro-gun bills recently.

“Lansing has shown some trends lately to reduce some of the restrictions, as far as like the pistol purchase permit and some of the controls on where you can carry weapons. We do like to see that.”

There are several gun-related bills in the Michigan Legislature. Very few have moved out of committee so far this year.

Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville says things like road funding and other budget issues are more pressing.

Pretty much everyone remembers George Santayana’s famous saying that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t talking about the Republicans in Michigan’s state senate, but he could have been.

Real life is different from fiction. In the real world, things happen that are just too crazy for anyone to make up. And if there’s any political question that we can say has been settled for all time, it is that federal law always trumps state law. When they conflict, federal law is the law.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

A debate about guns is brewing in the City of Grand Rapids.

At Grand Rapids City Hall Tuesday night, several people had pistols holstered at their hips for a commission meeting.

They’re part of Michigan Open Carry, a group that’s pressuring commissioners to change a local law. It bans loaded firearms here, or any public place in Grand Rapids.

Mayor George Heartwell says he has a “very healthy respect for guns” but he doesn’t think they belong at city hall.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A state court has struck down a Lansing library’s ban on people openly carrying guns in its branches.

The Capitol Area District Library instituted its policy banning patrons from openly carrying firearms in 2005.

A group called Michigan Open Carry challenged the ban, claiming the ban violated a state law which blocks local units of government from instituting rules that restrict gun owners.     And a majority of the Michigan Court of Appeals agreed.

From the conclusion of the opinion released by the Court of Appeals: