As a criminal defense attorney, I have seen first-hand how passionate people are about their firearms rights. Gun enthusiasts believe strongly in their Second Amendment rights, and I can’t say that I blame them.
The City of Grand Rapids, Michigan has recently been the site of a political controversy regarding the right to carry firearms. The current city ordinance–enacted decades ago–prohibits carrying in public a loaded, operable gun within the Grand Rapids city limits. This is likely in conflict with Michigan’s open carry and concealed pistol laws.
Open Carry, Inc., a group dedicated to protecting firearm rights, is challenging the legality of the Grand Rapids ordinance. Group members have shown up to recent meetings at the Grand Rapids City Hall with firearms holstered at their hips. This action outraged many people, especially in light of the recent (horrific) elementary school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. Sensitivities are heightened nationwide as a debate about assault weapons and other firearms rages in the media.
Change of gun ordinance not likely say city commissioners
Despite the city ordinance likely being invalid due to more recent changes in state law, Grand Rapids mayor, George Heartwell, has made it clear that he and the city commissioners do not intend to change the ordinance. Heartwell states, “Guns in public meetings knot up my stomach because they function to suppress free speech. In the heat of a public debate on contentious issues, guns have a chilling impact on citizens and city commissioners.” Heartwell says he would favor the right to free speech over the right to bear arms.
Attorneys are trained to see both sides of an argument. I can completely understand that Mayor Heartwell is concerned about the safety of his constituents. That being said, if city laws and state laws conflict, state laws control. Moreover, the Second Amendment, as part of the United States Constitution, is the law of the land. I love Grand Rapids and I have lived in West Michigan on and off for many years. However, the defense attorney in me reigns supreme and I have to lend my support to Open Carry, Inc.’s efforts.
I believe in the constitutional right to possess a firearm. That is why I help people assess whether they are eligible to apply for a firearms rights restoration. If you or someone you know is wondering how to legally possess, sell, or buy a firearm or ammunition after a loss of gun rights–whether it would be for hunting, protection, or another reason–contact The Kronzek Firm. I would love to have a consultation with you about this issue. I am always interested in helping others regain their Second Amendment rights.
Stephanie M. Service is a criminal defense attorney at the law firm of The Kronzek Firm PLC. She is knowledgeable about Michigan’s firearms laws, including restoration of gun rights. She practices criminal defense throughout Michigan.