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U of M Campus Gun Ban Upheld by Michigan Court of Appeals

Dan Williams, Esq.

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In a recent decision, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the University of Michigan and their policy to ban firearms on campus. In a 2-1 decision, the court ruled that the ban, Article X, did not violate the Second Amendment and that the University does have the authority to create such ordinances.  

The University of Michigan's gun ban ordinance has been enacted since 2001. Article X states that no person shall possess any firearm regardless of whether they have a concealed weapons permit. The exceptions to the ordinance include individuals such as law enforcement officers and those who obtain a waiver "based on extraordinary circumstances."

After Joshua Wade was denied a waiver, he filed for action claiming that the ban violated his right to bear arms and that MCL 123.1102, which prohibits local units of government from establishing their own limitations on firearms, preempts the ordinance.

The Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court's ruling upholding the gun ban. The court stated in the majority opinion that the University is a "public educational institution - a school - and, thus, a 'sensitive place.'" This definition meant that the university is a place where Second Amendment rights can be prohibited as established in District of Columbia v Heller.

The court also affirmed the decision that the ban did not preempt the University's ordinance which banned all firearms from University property.

In his dissent, Judge David Sawyer agreed with Wade saying because of the physical layout of the University, which includes areas open to the general public, it did not have authority to regulate the carrying of guns across its entire campus.

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