If you’re packing, should you pack your gun away in a safe place before entering a library?
The staff at a Michigan library thinks libraries should be added to the list of gun-free zones after a man with a hostered gun attended a summer reading party for kids, MLive/The Kalamazoo Gazette reports.
A Kalamazoo Public Library staff member approached the man, who said he carried the gun to protect his young daughter. One of the administrators asked the man to leave, then called the local police department – as authorities had directed, when he refused to go.
Michigan Open Carry Inc. thinks the man’s rights were violated and the library should apologize.
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Rob Harris, a spokesman for the gun-rights advocacy group, said the library staff made the man so uncomfortable that he left. “I think that’s awful,” he told the newspaper. “...Unfortunately for them, nothing in the law says they have the right to be comfortable.”
No one disagrees that the man was within his rights to carry the gun, but the incident has reignited a debate about where weapons should be prohibited. The Michigan Library Association wants libraries to be added to the list.
"But just because something is legal doesn't mean it's the best idea," Gail Madziar, the association’s executive director, said.
The list currently includes:
- Banks and credit unions
- Sports arenas
- Day-care centers
- Establishments serving liquor
Police and security officers and people with permits to carry concealed weapons are exempt from the list.
Legal precedent isn’t on the library association’s side. The Michigan Supreme Court declined last year to hear an appeal of a case raising similar involving the Capital Area District Library and Michigan Open Carry in which similar arguments were raised. The lower court ruled in the gun rights group’s favor.