Councilwoman wants gun restrictions in Detroit hotels

Christine Ferretti, and Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

In the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, a Detroit City Council member said she wants restrictions on rifles and semiautomatic weapons in hotel rooms in the city that face public spaces.

Councilwoman Janee Ayers said she will ask the city’s Law Department to study the feasibility of measures to secure powerful weapons during the council’s Tuesday session. An ordinance could include anything from an outright ban to measures to secure patrons’ guns in the hotel.

The move is “very preliminary,” Ayers said Monday night. “This is the fact-finding stage," she said, but added that Detroit needs to be proactive on the issue in light of the alleged gunman who opened fire from the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas hotel Sunday night.

For Mich. visitors, shooting 'seemed like it would never stop'

Ayers, who has a background in the hospitality industry, noted popular public spaces downtown, including Campus Martius Park and Hart Plaza. The city, she said, also hosts events that draw major crowds, including the annual jazz festival and the Movement electronic music festival.

Ayers said she will talk with representatives of the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau and local hotel industry for feedback.

The councilwoman acknowledged that there would be hurdles in developing the regulations, which she said would have to address the right to carry weapons.

“No hotel wants to have that happen to them,” Ayers said of the Las Vegas tragedy.

But Ayers’ proposal could face legal issues.

Tom Lambert, president of Michigan Open Carry Inc., points to Michigan Public Act 319 of 1990, which prohibits local governments from imposing certain restrictions on owning, registering, buying, selling, transferring, transporting or possessing firearms or ammunition.

“Detroit has come a long way towards recovery over the past few years, but there is still a long way to go,” he said. “Making it harder for tourists to protect themselves would be a horrible idea. This is exactly the type of overreaction this state law was meant to prevent.”