A high school soccer game in Michigan was stopped early in recent days – simply because a spectator exercised his open carry Second Amendment rights. The incident occurred during a game between Hudsonville Freedom Christian and Western Michigan Christian high schools in Muskegon.
The unidentified gun owner was spotted openly carrying a handgun and was asked to leave by an assistant athletic director Fred VandenBrand. Instead of leaving the Michigan high school soccer game, the gun owner opted to put his weapon inside his car and return to the stands and watch the game. The removal of the legal gun was apparently not enough for the school, which decided the game should be cancelled with just 15 minutes left. According to MLive, the gunless gun owner sitting in the stands made school officials “uncertain” – mainly whether he was still carrying it.
“I thought it was necessary to clear the field of players and parents,” said David Hulings, coach of Western Michigan Christian High School. “It is regretful that the boys on both teams could not finish. I am sorry for the inconvenience, but I thought it best to err on the side of caution. Although I personally have no objection to, and do support, his right to carry, the school also has a right under the law to ask him to leave.”
A law enforcement officer was called to the soccer field after the man choosing to openly carry his pistol was spotted. It is not currently known if the police officer questioned the gun owner, or what they talked about.
“Talking to the officer…we had a right to ask him to leave, and if he returned without meeting our conditions, he could be charged with trespassing,” VandenBrand said. “I agree with our coach 100 percent. The safety of our players and students is our highest priority and our coach did the right thing in making sure our players and the fans were going to be safe before anything else. We don’t want our players on the field with someone who has a gun in the stands.”
Western Michigan lost, 2-0.
Technically, the school had a right to ask the man to leave, because it is a private school and the property is private.
Public schools, though, are a different matter.
Earlier in September police officers were also called to Edgerton Elementary School in the Clio area of Michigan when a student’s father openly carried his handgun on his waist inside the public school building. The law enforcement officers who investigated the call informed the school officials that the parent had the right to carry a non-concealed weapon on the premises.
By law, there are specific exceptions to the Michigan open carry law:
- Banks or credit unions
- Churches or other related places of worship
- Daycare centers
- Sports arenas
- Venues licenses under the state liquor control code
Exceptions to the gun free zones allow police officers, security guards, and individuals who have the permission of the ownership who possess a concealed carry permit to take a firearm into the noted locations.
In most states, there are typically more hurdles to jump through to garner a concealed carry permit than involved with simply strapping on a firearm so it is openly viewed.