FLINT TWP. — Banning weapons from the meeting room is part of a Code of Conduct adopted by the board of trustees at its Monday night meeting.
Tobacco use, soliciting, animals (with exceptions), non-silenced cellphones, and vulgar language were also on a list of no-nos approved in the 14-point code of conduct.
But prohibiting weapons was the point that drew board discussion.
Trustee Frank Kasle questioned the wording which stated that “no one may carry a weapon into the meeting room unless authorized by law.”
He suggested that the last four words should be left out.
When consulted, Police Chief George Sippert agreed that the wording seemed ambiguous.
Sippert said he was not clear on the meaning of who is authorized by law. He referenced a recent case in Lansing in which the Michigan Court of Appeals overturned a lower court ruling that had upheld a district libraries policy to prohibit guns being brought into the buildings – both open or concealed carry. The courts ruled that the library is a public building and subject to state statues controlling firearms, which in the state constitution establishes that no city, township or county can make its own gun laws.
“That is where the issue lies, this is a public building,’’ Sippert said.
Supervisor Karyn Miller said she discussed the wording wit the township attorney and he advised it in consideration of existing and proposed changes in Michigan’s opencarry laws.
Kasle, an attorney, said the intended language in the township’s code of conduct should be clearly stated, but, if legally challenged, could be amended.
“We have nothing to lose,’’ he said. “If we don’t want guns in this room while we are meeting, we should put in that no one in here can carry guns except law enforcement officers.”
His motion to change the wording to reflect that was accepted. The board ten unanimously approved the entire Code of Conduct.
Other provisions in the Code are that only assistance animals for people with disabilities are allowed in the meeting room: cell phones are permitted with the ringers silenced; conversations must be conducted outside the room when a meeting is in progress; shoes and shirts must be worn at all times; abusive and vulgar language directed at citizens or staff is not allowed; interruptions are not allowed of anyone addressing the board and that restrooms will not be used to do laundry or as a washing facility and the meeting room will not be used as a sleeping room.
The Code further states that violating these rules will lead to a warning, before being asked to leave the room and could lead to persistent violators being forcibly removed.