Sunday, July 29, 2012

Lousy Recent Anti-Gun Range Decision From The Michigan Court Of Appeals

In a stunningly bad series of decisions, the Michigan Court of Appeals in the cases of Township of Addison v Barnhart Cases Barnhart I and Barnhart II has held that a shooting range is not protected under the Sport Shooting ranges act if it conducts any business or charges any fees for commercial activity such as teaching firearm classes.

The statute, MCL 691.1541 et seq states:

(d) “Sport shooting range” or “range” means an area designed and operated for the use of archery, rifles, shotguns, pistols, silhouettes, skeet, trap, black powder, or any other similar sport shooting.

Note how it does not say a sport shooting range may not charge fees or cannot be run or owned by an organization, or corporation, whether for- or non-profit. In contrast, the act even defines the word person to mean: "(c) “Person” means an individual, proprietorship, partnership, corporation, club, governmental entity, or other legal entity."

In short, the Michigan Court of Appeals made this determination up out of whole cloth, claiming the word "sport" in the statute disallows any fees or commercial activity at a range, to essentially eviscerate the protection of the statute to just about every range in Michigan, on the flimsiest of pretextual judicial reasoning.

The decision is being appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court where hopefully this deliberate misinterpretation of the statute will be overruled.

Thanks to MUCC and Rob for the heads-up on this decision.

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