MI Supreme Court hears arguments on school gun policies

Apr 11, 2018

The Michigan Supreme Court will decide whether schools can ban firearms, or if that’s preempted by a state law.


A state law says cities, townships, villages and counties cannot adopt their own firearms ordinances. But the law is silent on school districts.

School officials say that means they can adopt policies that don’t permit firearms in schools. Gun rights groups say schools are skirting the intent of the law.

Democratic Justice Bridget McCormack asked whether school policies are the same as local ordinances.

“So we have the right to ask you to leave. We’re not saying you’re committing a crime, so where’s the conflict?”

Republican Chief Justice Stephen Markman was interested in what the Legislature might do to clear up the confusion.

“This is a very time-consuming, recourse-heavy case. And if the Legislature is going to do something contrary to what this court might decide, we might want to know that’s a likely prospect.”

School officials say that means they can adopt policies that don’t permit firearms in schools. The court heard arguments Wednesday in two separate challenges to school district firearm policies.

Janice Swift is the superintendent of the Ann Arbor school district.

“We know that the presence of a gun in school carried by anyone other than a sworn officer of the law is a disruption. It is dangerous. It is risky, and it is counterproductive to everything we’re wired to do in education.”

Gun rights groups say school policies can’t trump the state’s concealed pistol law. The law bans concealed firearms in schools. But it says people with a concealed pistol license can openly carry a firearm.