Lawsuit filed against Flint Mayor, council over gun-free zone
FLINT, Mich. (WNEM) - Three Flint residents and three gun groups have filed a lawsuit against the City of Flint’s Mayor Sheldon Neeley, and city council over City Hall’s gun-free zone.
The plaintiffs are seeking a permanent, preliminary injunction and declaratory relief to stop the city’s “unlawful practice of purposeful and targeted exclusion from open meetings of those who seek to ensure their own personal safety.”
The lawsuit, filed Friday, Nov, 3, said the ban on weapons infringes on citizen’s rights who lawfully carry firearms for personal protection but noted councilmembers can carry personal protection.
The lawsuit also alleged a violation of the state’s Open Meetings Act (OMA), by excluding gun owners from Flint City Council meetings.
In the lawsuit, Flint residents said they were denied entry to one or more meetings for having self-defense pepper spray and legal firearms or were forced to go through a metal detector.
“Defendants are intentionally violating the minimum expectations enshrined in the OMA by purposely limiting or outright excluding participation in the City’s democratic process by illegally denying access to open meetings,” the lawsuit said.
On Tuesday, Oct. 17, fighting erupted between members of the Flint City Council and Mayor Sheldon Neeley, over the installation of metal detectors.
On Oct. 23, the city of Flint joined the ranks of public schools, hospitals, and airports by becoming a gun-free zone.
Michigan Open Carry Inc., Michigan Gun Owners, and Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners are also named as plaintiffs in the case.
We have reached out to the defendants and plaintiffs named in the lawsuit.
A statement from the Flint City Attorney states that the claims come without merit and the city will be defending the lawsuit vigorously.
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