Late last month, Johann Deffert’s attorney, Steve Dulan, filed an amended complaint with the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan. As you will recall, Mr. Deffert filed suit against the City of Grand Rapids, as well as the
thugs officers that detained him, following a patently illegal detainment this time last year.
The amended complaint removes Stephen Labreque and then police chief Kevin Belk as defendants. However, the amended complaint brings up an issue that’s pretty damning for Grand Rapids – the fact that Mayor George Heartwell and the rest of the City Commission took no action to repeal the firearms ordinance despite the fact they were notified on the 8th of January – months before Mr. Deffert was detained. From the complaint:
12. The City of Grand Rapids is also liable because its policies, practices, and
customs lead to this complaint of violation.
13. Specifically, Grand Rapids Municipal Code § 9.173. Carrying, states: “No
person shall carry any firearm upon his or her person in any public street,
alley or other place open to the public in the City of Grand Rapids unless:
(1) The person has been issued a valid license to do so as provided by Act
372 of Michigan Public Acts of 1927, as amended (MCL 28.421 et seq.), or
(2) All ammunition has been removed from the chamber, cylinder, clip or
magazine of the firearm and the firearm has been noticeably rendered
inoperable by being broken down or disassembled or is completely
enclosed within a case or other similar container (Ord. No. 67-11, 4-25-67).
14. M.C.L. § 123.1102, the state firearms preemption statute, states: “A local
unit of government shall not impose special taxation on, enact or enforce
any ordinance or regulation pertaining to, or regulate in any other manner
the ownership, registration, purchase, sale, transfer, transportation, or
possession of pistols or other firearms, ammunition for pistols or other
firearms, or components of pistols or other firearms, except as otherwise
provided by a federal law or a law of this state.”
15. Openly carrying a pistol is lawful in Michigan, according to Michigan State
Police Bulletin #86, Oct. 26, 2010.
16. The Michigan Court of Appeals has ruled that “a local government shall
not enact an ordinance pertaining to the tranportation of firearms.”
Michigan Coalition of Responsible Gun Owners v. City of Ferndale, 256
Mich. App. 401, 414, 662 N.W.2d 864, 872 (2003)
17. Issues regarding the conflict between the Grand Rapids Ordinance and
Michigan State law were brought to the attention of the City Commission
of the City of Grand Rapids on January 8, 2013.
18. Upon information and belief, the City of Grand Rapids took no action to
repeal Muncipal Ordinance No. 67-11.
19. By refusing to take any action to repeal Ord. No. 67-11, the City of Grand
Rapids showed deliberate indifference to individuals in situations similar to
the Plaintiff, and created a substantial risk of confusion among individual
Officers that was likely to lead to incidents such as the one alleged in this
Of course, the City has time to remove other ordinances, but not one that is in conflict with state law.
So George, how are you going to have your attorneys respond to that allegation? All I can say is good luck, because you’re going to need it. What may work in the media won’t necessarily work in court.