Lansing, MI (March 5, 2021) – Today, Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) and Firearms Policy Foundation (FPF) announced the filing of an important brief in the case of Wade v. University of Michigan, currently before the Michigan Supreme Court. The brief, authored by FPC’s Director of Constitutional Studies Joseph Greenlee, FPC’s Adjunct Scholar George Mocsary, and FPC Legal Intern Nathan Cowper is available at FPCLegal.org.
Joshua Wade filed an action challenging the University of Michigan’s campus-wide ban on carrying firearms, alleging that the ban violated both the Michigan and U.S. Constitutions. Of particular importance is whether the University of Michigan is subject to the Michigan firearm preemption statute.
The FPC brief argues the University should not be allowed to violate fundamental rights and clear legislative will in order to substitute their judgment for that of the People. While Michigan’s constitution gives the University complete autonomy over the financial and educational mission of the University, it does not grant the University the power to act as a state legislature to address matters of which the University has no competence to regulate. Michigan law preempts cities, towns, municipalities and some quasi-municipal corporations from regulating firearms. The FPC brief asserts that, when operating outside its sphere of educational and financial autonomy, the University of Michigan is subject to the State firearms preemption statute as a quasi-municipal corporation and must be in order to avoid a patchwork of laws which may subject an unwitting individual to criminal prosecution. Covering over 5 square miles, the University of Michigan campus is located in the center of Ann Arbor, Michigan and abbuts both public and private property, streets and sidewalks.
“The State of Michigan enacted a firearm preemption statute to ensure that Michiganders can exercise their right to bear arms freely and consistently throughout the state,” said FPC’s Joseph Greenlee. “The University of Michigan’s carry ban violates this statute as well as the Michigan Constitution.”
“Firearm preemption laws also prevent the unequal access to self-defense tools,” said FPC’s Nathan Cowper. “These laws ensure the most vulnerable among us have the opportunity to defend against violent crimes without fear of being arbitrarily subject to criminal sanctions because they cross the wrong street or accidentally stray onto University property.”
FPC’s brief was joined by Professor Daniel Barnhizer of Michigan State University College of Law and Michigan attorney Brian Watkins.
Firearms Policy Coalition and its FPC Law team are the nation’s next-generation advocates for the right to keep and bear arms and adjacent issues, having recently filed many major federal Second Amendment lawsuits, including challenges to the State of Maryland’s ban on “assault weapons” (Bianchi v. Frosh), the State of Pennsylvania’s and Allegheny County’s carry restrictions (Cowey v. Mullen), Philadelphia’s Gun Permit Unit policies and practices (Fetsurka v. Outlaw), Pennsylvania’s ban on carry by adults under 21 years of age (Lara v. Evanchick), California’s Handgun Ban and “Roster” laws (Renna v. Becerra), Maryland’s carry ban (Call v. Jones), New Jersey’s carry ban (Bennett v. Davis), New York City’s carry ban (Greco v. New York City), the federal ban on the sale of handguns and handgun ammunition by federal firearm licensees (FFLs) to adults under 21 years of age (Reese v. BATFE), and others, with many more cases being prepared today. To follow these and other legal cases FPC is actively working on, visit the Legal Action section of FPC’s website or follow FPC on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube.
Firearms Policy Coalition (firearmspolicy.org) is a 501(c)4 nonprofit organization. FPC’s mission is to protect and defend constitutional rights—especially the right to keep and bear arms—advance individual liberty, and restore freedom through litigation and legal action, legislative and regulatory action, education, outreach, grassroots activism, and other programs. FPC Law is the nation’s largest public interest legal team focused on Second Amendment and adjacent fundamental rights including freedom of speech and due process, conducting litigation, research, scholarly publications, and amicus briefing, among other efforts.
Firearms Policy Foundation (www.firearmsfoundation.org) is a grassroots 501(c)3 nonprofit public benefit organization. FPF’s mission is to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States and the People’s rights, privileges, and immunities deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition—especially the inalienable, fundamental, and individual right to keep and bear arms.