Should Guns Be Allowed in Public Libraries?
The Dearborn Public Library Commission is considering joining other Michigan libraries in requesting that the locales be added to the list of places where firearms are not allowed.
The Dearborn Public Library Commission may soon join a growing list of Michigan library administrations appealing to lawmakers to change the state's gun laws.
While municipalities aren't allowed to regulate the possession of firearms, according to MCL 750.234d, there are certain exceptions when openly carried weapons are not allowed. These include:
- Sports arenas
- Day care centers
- Establishments licensed under the Michigan Liquor Control Act
Not on that list are public libraries.
Library Director Maryanne Bartles explained at the commission's Friday meeting that a movement to add libraries to that list was spurred by a group of open carry advocates who came to the Baldwin Public Library in Birmingham in June, all of whom were carrying weapons as part of a planned protest.
Deputy Director Julie Schaefer added that after looking into the issue, Dearborn Public Library administration grew concerned that such a situation would cause a clear disruption in Dearborn, too.
"We would call the police because people would be very nervous and we'd want police to make sure they have licences," Schaefer added. "With people of all ages gathered, it's frightening."
The Library Commission on Friday disagreed over whether they should ask lawmakers to make libraries "pistol-free zones,"—meaning concealed or openly carried handguns are unlawful—or just outlawing the act of openly carrying a weapon.
"The idea of banning weapons from a site isn't going to stop people from bringing them in," said commission chair Marcel Pultorak. "Open carry ... is where the real problem is."
Pultorak is licensed to carry a concealed weapon, and said that he often does where it is allowed by law.
Commission Ryan Lazar disagreed.
"This is no different than a school," he said, noting that schools are pistol-free zones.
The commission voted in favor of having library administration draft a letter asking local state representatives to support the addition of libraries to the "pistol-free zone" list.
Pultorak and commissioner Robert Taub did not support the measure, as they both felt the ban should be limited to openly carried weapons.
Bartles noted that the commission would have "more opportunities to discuss the issue" at future meetings.
Correction: This article originally stated that regulations for "pistol-free zones" applied to all weapons.