UPDATE: We have video of one of the refs from this game talking about what happened. And he sounds pretty pro-gun. Video below.
In Muskegon Michigan two Christian high schools were playing a soccer game when one of the coached spotted a man openly carrying a gun. In the end this resulted in the entire game being stopped between Muskegon Western Michigan Christian and Hudsonville Freedom Christian.
According to Mlive.com the coach for the home team notified the assistant athletics director who then asked the man to leave.
But instead of just leaving the man returned his gun to his car and came back to the game seemingly disarmed. His presence in the stands apparently led to a lot of apprehension and questions as to whether or not he still had a gun, and in the end the soccer game was stopped with 30 minutes left in the game.
The head coach David Hulings explained why the decision was made to cancel the game before it was over.
“I thought it was necessary to clear the field of players and parents,” Hulings said. “It is regretful that the boys on both teams could not finish. I am sorry for the inconvenience, but I thought it best to err on the side of caution. Although I personally have no objection to, and do support, his right to carry, the school also has a right under the law to ask him to leave.”
The assistant athletics director, Fred VandenBrand, detailed his encounter with the pistol packing fan saying,
“I asked him to leave. I told him we don’t want him with a gun here,” VandenBrand said. “He said he had a right, he had a permit to be there … I said, ‘We also have a right. This is our field and we don’t want you here with it. He hesitated for awhile,” VandenBrand said. “I said, ‘You’re not going to be here with your gun.’ “
The police were eventually on the scene after the man came back to the stands with an empty holster and explained to the man that it was private property and the school had every right to ask him to leave. The opposing team’s coach was very supportive of the actions which were taken by the athletics director and coach to cancel the game.
Here is video of one of the refs who was officiating the soccer game giving his take on what happened. Sounds like at least one ref was thinking clearly at this game and he makes some very good points.
According to mlive.com who first reported this story,
“There is no law restricting the carrying of weapons onto school property by those who have concealed pistol licenses. However, the weapon has to be visible and not, in fact, “concealed.” Because WMC is a private school, VandenBrand was within his rights to tell the man to get rid of his gun or leave. If the game was played at a public school field, however, there would be no such right.”
But in January legislation was passed in Michigan that would no longer allow those with concealed pistol licenses to carry their guns onto school grounds.
VandenBrand said a friend of the gun-toting man videotaped as an officer with the Muskegon Police Department warned him about not violating trespassing laws. But there is no word yet on that video or if it has been posted online.
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