By Dean Weingarten
Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- – On Friday, June 27th, Karen Spranger went to work as the County Clerk in Macomb County, Michigan. When she arrived at 0730, the metal detection machinery and the armed guards had been removed. She had filed a lawsuit to make this occur. She had not been notified it would happen.
In Michigan, public buildings are not allowed to forbid the exercise of Second Amendment rights, with an exception for court rooms or other official space used for official court business.
Security measures at the Macomb County Clerk and Register of Deeds office at the Talmer building in Mount Clemens have been removed as a result of court action filed by Clerk Karen Spranger that targeted the county’s policy on weapons-free zones.
The Macomb County Office of County Executive ordered the removal of the metal detector, X-ray machines and three security guards assigned to the building, Spranger announced Tuesday.
“The three full-time security guards are good people, but their wages and benefits are simply a waste of the Macomb County taxpayers’ money,” she said in a release sent by her private attorney, Frank Cusumano.
Two other buildings in the county have metal detectors and armed guards. They are the Macolmb County Circuit Court and the county Administration building. The Circuit Court likely falls under the court room exception for gun free zones.
The county Administration building may be another illegal gun free zone.
It cost $40,000 for the equipment. Three guards, full time, probably cost $250,000 a year per building in “security” costs. As has often been said, it is easy to spend other people's money.
In the same article, Deputy County Executive Mark Deldin made some interesting statements:
Deldin acknowledged that government functions operated in the renovated, former bank building do not fit the definition under state law as a weapons-free zone. They expected weapons-free designation could be successfully challenged in court.
“We felt when we put it in, even though we knew it was not protected by law, let’s err on the side of caution for employees and by the public that use that building,” Deldin said.
So the County executive is fine with performing illegal acts “on the side of caution”.
Florida solved that problem by holding individual officers liable for disrespecting state law and the Constitution who performed similar actions. Local governments were forbidden to supply legal assistance in such cases. Suddenly, scofflaw actions by city and county officials stopped and were reversed.
More states are implementing policies to hold local officials personally accountable for violating laws that infringe on citizens' exercise of Second Amendment rights. Michigan does not have such a statute.
Spending a quarter of a million dollars a year for a measure of dubious value may be seen as poor money management. It is worse when the decision to do so is in contradiction to state law, and invites lawsuits to correct the situation. The taxpayers pay for the unnecessary equipment and guards, and then pay for the lawsuit that gets them removed.
©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.