Eastpointe sued over ordinance that restricts guns from being stored in unlocked cars
The City of Eastpointe was slapped with a lawsuit Monday over its new gun ordinance that makes it illegal for gun owners to keep guns in unlocked vehicles.
The Michigan Gun Owners organization and resident Lance Anthony DeVooght filed the lawsuit against Eastpointe in Macomb County Circuit Court.
Some gun owners have taken aim at the ordinance since it was enacted in October. Gun rights advocates say the ordinance penalizes people who own firearms, but the city's police chief and other supporters of the new law say the ordinance is aimed at cracking down on rising crime and gun violence in Eastpointe.
The Michigan Gun Owners' attorney, James J. Makowski, said Monday the group "is not advocating in any way irresponsible gun ownership" but believes the Michigan Legislature is the only government body that can make laws regarding how gun owners store firearms.
"Our organization believes and supports responsible gun ownership, (but) the City of Eastpointe lacks the authority (to enact gun laws)," he said.
Makowski said he has spoken with several state legislators who feel Eastpointe officials are "usurping their authority."
Interim Easpointe City Manager Ryan Cotton said city officials had only seen the lawsuit Monday and that "our attorney is reviewing it."
"We look forward to the outcome of the legal process," he said.
Under the ordinance, owners who store their firearms in unlocked vehicles in the Macomb County community can be fined up to $350 on a first offense and could face up to 90 days in jail.
The measure followed a rash of firearm thefts from vehicles in the past three years, with 60 stolen over that period, including 21 guns swiped in one year, said Eastpointe Public Safety Director George Rouhib.
The new gun ordinance is legally sound, Rouhib told The Detroit News last month.
He said he had Eastpointe's city attorney go through the ordinance before it was enacted.