“Stand Your Ground” Pulled from County Agenda

In a phone conversation with The Chronicle on the morning of Sept. 18, Washtenaw County board chair Yousef Rabhi confirmed that a resolution asking for the repeal of Michigan’s “Stand Your Ground” law has been pulled from the Sept. 18 meeting agenda. Although the item was still listed in the online agenda that’s posted on the county’s website, Rabhi said the resolution will not appear on the printed agendas distributed at tonight’s meeting.

Two commissioners on the 9-member board – Felicia Brabec (D-District 4) and Rolland Sizemore Jr. (D-District 5) – will be absent, Rabhi said, and he expects that three other commissioners would vote against the resolution. Because of that, it would likely only garner four votes in support. Under the county board rules, a resolution requires votes from “a majority of the members elected and serving” in order to pass. With an anticipated 4-3 vote, it would fall short of achieving the 5-vote majority needed.

Rabhi said he plans to bring the resolution forward again on Oct. 2.

The resolution urges state legislators and Gov. Rick Snyder to repeal Public Act 309 of 2006 and Public Act 319 of 1990, and “to adopt common-sense gun regulations such as improved background checks, strengthened gun-free zones, and limits on the sale of high-capacity magazines.” [.pdf of proposed resolution originally on the Sept. 18 agenda]

It’s similar to a resolution passed by the Ann Arbor city council on Aug. 8, 2013. Activists have been calling for the repeal in the wake of a Florida verdict in the Trayvon Martin case that was handed down in mid-July. Three people spoke at the county board’s Sept. 4 meeting, urging commissioners to take action.

However, opponents to the resolution are also rallying. Michigan Open Carry Inc., an advocacy group based in Lansing, have encouraged people who live near Ann Arbor to attend the Sept. 18 meeting and protest the resolution. A post on the group’s Facebook page states: “We understand the County Building does not contain a court, but we have not verified this. If it is indeed not a court, open or concealed carry would be lawful and the county building would be covered under preemption.” There is no court in the building where county commissioners hold their meetings, at 220 N. Main St. in downtown Ann Arbor.

Rabhi told The Chronicle that extra security will be in the building during the meeting.

The county board’s ways & means committee meets at 6:30 p.m., followed immediately by the regular board meeting. Though the agenda states that the regular board meeting begins at 6:45 p.m., it usually starts much later – times vary depending on what’s on the agenda. Public commentary is held at the beginning of each meeting, and no advance sign-up is required.