CINCINNATI, OH (June 8, 2021) — Today, Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) announced the filing of an opening brief in the appeal of Oakland Tactical Supply, LLC v. Howell Township, Michigan, which challenges zoning restrictions imposed by the Township that prohibit shooting ranges for long guns. The appellants are represented by attorneys Joseph Greenlee, FPC Law’s Director of Constitutional Studies, Adam Kraut, FPC Law’s Senior Director of Legal Operations, Peter A. Patterson of Cooper & Kirk, PLLC, Martha A. Dean, and Roger L. Myers. The brief can be found at FPCLegal.org.
Howell Township regulates approximately 20,000 acres of unincorporated land in Livingston County, Michigan, under its zoning ordinance, which specifies the uses allowed in each zoning district while prohibiting any that are not listed. Oakland Tactical wanted to build an outdoor, long-distance shooting range on land in an Agricultural Residential District that was formerly a rock quarry. Howell, however, does not permit such ranges in any district, resulting in a prohibition on training with constitutionally protected arms within the township.
In September, the district court granted the Township’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, saying that the plaintiffs failed to state a Second Amendment claim and that “the ordinance appears on its face to allow shooting ranges in districts other than those designated AR.” As a result, the plaintiffs appealed.
The appeal’s opening brief argues that “[t]he Second Amendment guarantees law-abiding citizens the right to train in the use of ‘Arms,’ including at shooting ranges and including with long guns, for lawful purposes,” and “[b]ecause training with long guns and for lawful purposes in Howell Township requires outdoor, long-distance shooting ranges, such ranges cannot be banned.”
Additionally, the brief argues that “at the time of the Founding, keeping and bearing arms included training with long guns for lawful purposes,” noting that “Americans’ success in the Revolutionary War was widely attributed to their familiarity and training with arms,” with one example being that “[t]he Continental Congress used Americans’ firearms training to warn King George III that Americans would make for a formidable foe.”
“Firearms training is not only protected by the Second Amendment, but it is essential to the exercise of other rights protected by the Second Amendment,” explained Greenlee. “The right to defend yourself, your family, and your community with firearms would mean little if it did not include the right to maintain proficiency with those very arms. We are hopeful that the Court will recognize the importance of this right, reverse the lower court’s decision, and remand the case for further proceedings consistent with the Second Amendment.”
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Firearms Policy Coalition and its FPC Law team are the nation’s next-generation advocates leading the Second Amendment litigation and research space. Some FPC legal actions include:
- A challenge to California’s ban on so-called “assault weapons” (Miller v. Bonta) that resulted in a post-trial judgment and permanent injunction against the challenged regulations, the first such victory in United States history
- A brief supporting certiorari in NYSRPA v. Bruen, which was granted by the U.S. Supreme Court
- A challenge to Minnesota’s ban on handgun carry by adults under 21 (Worth v. Harrington)
- A challenge to Illinois’ ban on handgun carry by adults under 21 (Meyer v. Raoul)
- A challenge to Georgia's ban on handgun carry by adults under 21 (Baughcum v. Jackson)
- A challenge to Tennessee’s ban on handgun carry by adults under 21 (Basset v. Slatery)
- A challenge to Maryland’s ban on handgun carry (Call v. Jones)
- A challenge to New Jersey’s ban on handgun carry (Bennett v. Davis)
- A challenge to New York City’s ban on handgun carry (Greco v. New York City)
- A challenge to Pennsylvania’s ban on handgun carry by adults under 21 (Lara v. Evanchick)
- A challenge to the federal ban on the sale of handguns and handgun ammunition to adults under 21 years of age (Reese v. ATF)
- A challenge to Maryland’s ban on so-called “assault weapons” (Bianchi v. Frosh)
- A challenge to California’s handgun “roster”, microstamping, and self-manufacturing ban laws (Renna v. Bonta)
- A challenge to Pennsylvania’s laws completely denying the right to carry to individuals who were previously granted relief from prior non-violent convictions and are not currently prohibited from possessing firearms (Suarez v. Evanchick)
Firearms Policy Coalition (firearmspolicy.org), a 501(c)4 nonprofit organization, exists to create a world of maximal human liberty, defend constitutional rights, advance individual liberty, and restore freedom. FPC’s efforts are focused on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and adjacent issues including freedom of speech, due process, unlawful searches and seizures, separation of powers, asset forfeitures, privacy, encryption, and limited government. The FPC team are next-generation advocates working to achieve the Organization’s strategic objectives through litigation, research, scholarly publications, amicus briefing, legislative and regulatory action, grassroots activism, education, outreach, and other programs. FPC Law (FPCLaw.org), the nation’s largest public interest legal team focused on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, lead the Second Amendment litigation and research space.