Frankfort, Ky –-(Ammoland.com)- In April 2009 Michael Mitchell was at work, doing his job as an anesthesia tech at the University of Kentucky Medical Center.
Michael was at that time also a graduate student doing his pre-med work in preparation for medical school. But a comment to a friend about a firearm that was overheard by a co-worker was reported erroneously to his supervisor, and he ended up having his locker searched for a gun that wasn’t there. Then, in an effort to be honest and helpful, Michael told them that he did have a gun, but that it was in his car in the parking lot at Commonwealth Stadium over 1/4 mile away, securely locked up.
He was then taken to his car, his handgun was seized illegally by UK police and he was sent home. He was subsequently fired from his job.
He approached KC3 for advice on the law and assistance in bringing legal action against UKMC.
The board of directors voted to assist him and referred him to our attorney, Christopher Hunt of Lexington. With the financial support of KC3 they brought suit against UKMC in Fayette circuit court, where it was dismissed. After consultations following the dismissal, the decision was made to appeal directly to the Supreme Court of Kentucky.
The rest, as they say, is history! In April of this year, the court issued its ruling and unanimously struck down the lower court’s ruling, and remanded it to the circuit court for trial! Here’s the opening of the ruling from the court:
OPINION OF THE COURT BY JUSTICE SCHRODER REVERSING AND REMANDING
Appellant Michael Mitchell appeals from an order of the Fayette Circuit Court granting summary judgment in favor of Appellees, the University of Kentucky and several of its employees and entities (collectively “UK”), in a suit where Mitchell claimed UK terminated his employment in violation of public policy.
We conclude that Mitchell’s discharge was contrary to a fundamental and well-defined public policy, i.e., the right to bear arms as evidenced by the Kentucky Revised Statutes. We further conclude that an explicit legislative statement prohibited Mitchell’s discharge, and that the reason for his discharge was his exercise of a right conferred by well-established legislative enactments Therefore, UK was not entitled to summary judgment, and we remand for further proceedings.
While it’s a certainty that UK will continue to engage in legal chicanery to avoid responsibility for paying the restitution and damages that Michael is entitled to, the language of the opinion makes it plain that all of their arguments to date were found to be lacking and insufficient.
The importance of this decision to Kentucky’s gun owners can’t be overstated. Prior to this, the colleges and universities had relied on a specious interpretation of one section of the statutes to justify their blanket ban on firearms in vehicles anywhere on their campuses, including glove boxes. Efforts to have this changed in the legislature failed in the last two sessions, despite support for the bills both from grass roots groups in Kentucky and from national gun rights groups such as the NRA and GOA. The universities thumbed their noses at CCDW permit holders despite the fact that in every other area of the statutes it was plain that the possession of a firearm IN YOUR CAR, and not removed or brandished, was LEGAL.
Now the colleges are going to be forced to revise their regulations in recognition of your right to bear arms, and to acknowledge that they have no special privileges that allow them to deny your right to self-defense.
KC3 is pleased to have been able to give Michael Mitchell the support that he needed to bring this suit and see it through to the end. We applaud him for his courage and perseverance. We also applaud Christopher Hunt for the excellence of his preparation for the appeal, and his conduct during the oral arguments at the Supreme Court, where his demeanor and bearing made the attorney for UK look shrill and weak.
We’ve waited a long time for a big win like this one, but now that it’s here it’s oh so sweet!
For the link to the full text of the decision, see our blog at http://kc3blog.blogspot.com. The decision is also printed there in its entirety.
About Kentucky Coalition to Carry Concealed:
Since 1994, Kentucky Coalition to Carry Concealed, Inc., has worked on behalf of Kentucky citizens to secure a concealed carry law that would permit law abiding citizens to have the means to defend themselves from criminal attack when traveling outside their homes. Visit: www.kc3.com