LANSING, Mich. (FOX 2) - A state House committee violated Michigan's Open Meetings Act when it held hearings concerning future gun safety legislation earlier this year, but failed to allow every member of the public to address the body during testimony.
The judgment was written in a Michigan Court of Claims opinion after multiple gun advocacy groups sued the state government for failing to allow the public to testify during the hearings.
However, Judge James Redford declined to grant the plaintiffs an injunction since they failed to show how OMA violations would continue. He dismissed all counts against the state House.
The lawsuit spawns from a flurry of lawmaking earlier in the year when representatives weighed multiple gun control bills that include mandatory locking of firearms in safes when children are nearby, expanding universal background checks, and implementing extreme risk protection orders.
The bills were approved along party lines with the third law drawing the most criticism. Also known as ‘Red Flag’ laws, some Michigan law enforcement officials say they won't enforce the rule.
Gun advocate groups Michigan Open Carry and Great Lakes Gun Rights sued the Michigan House of Representatives and Michigan Senate, accusing the bodies of preventing them from testifying during committee meetings in early March and in April.
In a statement, they framed the decision as a win - despite having their case dismissed.
"Judge Redford confirmed what we already knew: The Michigan House violated state law when it prevented pro-gun organizations and constituents from testifying in numerous gun control committee hearings earlier this year," said Tom Lambert of Michigan Open Carry in a statement.