Yesterday Tom Knighton wrote about the attempt by a Detroit city council member to turn much of the city’s downtown spaces into a “gun-free zone”, but we’re digging a little deeper on today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co with our guest Rick Ector. The Second Amendment advocate (recently elected the 76th board member of the NRA at the organization’s Annual Meeting in Indianapolis) and firearms instructor was one of several activists calling attention to the proposal ahead of an anticipated vote by the Detroit city council, and it looks like their efforts were successful, at least for now. At Tuesday’s council meeting the “gun-free” zone idea was postponed, though the sponsor of the proposed ordinance isn’t ready to call it quits yet.
Councilmember Mary Waters pushed the resolution back to committee where members can further discuss proposed changes. The resolution calls for urging the Michigan Legislature to repeal the Firearm and Ammunition Act 319 of 1990 since Detroit is not allowed to establish the zones under current state gun laws. At a meeting in April, Waters proposed gun-free zones in areas that include the Detroit riverfront, Greektown, Hart Plaza, Spirit of Detroit Plaza and Campus Martius. Shootings have occurred in the downtown area in recent weekends as the weather warms toward summer and more people head outside.
That’s right. While most of the media attention has been directed at the proposed carry ban itself, as Ector points out Detroit doesn’t have the legal authority to impose any new “gun-free zones” thanks to the state’s firearm preemption law. If Waters gets her way, not only would Detroit council members be able to impose their own gun control ordinances, but cities across the state could do the same thing; creating a patchwork quilt of gun control laws that few legal gun owners would be able to keep track of or follow.
Gun laws should stay consistent with the rest of the state, Ector said, adding it would be “impossible” for law-abiding citizens who own a firearm to use it lawfully in restricted areas for their personal protection.
“The whole idea of carving out a section of the city of Detroit, particularly the downtown area, the areas where the casinos are, just to implement their own brand of gun laws, and then have everyone else in the city of Detroit follow another set of gun laws, it’s inherently unfair. If you follow the history of gun control, it is racist. Gun laws tend to be most stringent in communities of color,” Ector said.
The city spent more than $1 million on “crowd-sized” metal detectors, which scan for guns and weapons, to deploy at outdoor gatherings. Ector said he is not sure how that could work to protect public safety.
“People who were actually coming to Greektown would have to come to Greektown unarmed or leave their guns in their cars, and then walk over or take the trolley over, and they could potentially be a crime victim at that point. Also on their way back to the vehicles in the designated parking areas that are not gun free, they could also be assaulted … on their way back to the vehicle,” Ector said.
Ector raises a valid point, but the councilwoman behind the push has brushed aside the concerns of gun owners like him.
Waters on Monday called the advocates’ response “NRA talking points” that will “get more Black human beings killed in Detroit, including children,” in a text message to the Free Press.
“This is not the Wild West,” Waters said. “It is one thing to protect yourself in your house. Another when you are in a public venue when you are trained to shoot at paper targets with black targets.”
No, it’s not the “Wild West.” It’s Detroit, which last time I checked was still a part of the United States, where we have the right to not only protect ourselves with firearms in our homes, but in public as well. If Waters managed to get her way in declaring downtown Detroit a “gun-free zone”, I wonder how long it would be before she tried to apply that same designation to the entire city. It’s plain as day that she doesn’t believe that residents and visitors should be able to protect themselves from the growing number of violent criminals, but that doesn’t mean she has the power or authority to strip citizens of their Second Amendment right to armed self-defense.
Be sure to check out my entire conversation with Rick Ector in the video window below. We’ll be keeping a close eye on what’s going on in Detroit and the broader push to undo the state’s preemption law as well, and we’ll be bringing Rick back for an update in the near future.