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State appeals court upholds University of Michigan ban on guns

June 7, 2017
2-to-1 decision says universities have the authority to restrict possession of firearms.

The Michigan Court of Appeals has upheld the University of Michigan’s ban on guns on its campuses.

The Detroit Free Press reports that the 2-to-1 ruling affirms an earlier decision by the Michigan Court of Claims.

Appeals Court Judge Mark Cavanagh, writing for the majority, quoted a 2008 U.S. Supreme Court decision that said, "nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on...laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings..."

Similar restrictions were again upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in a 2010 case, Cavanagh wrote.

Ann Arbor resident Joshua Wade had challenged the ban on Second Amendment grounds after the university refused to permit him to openly carry a handgun on campus.

Wade argued that the university is not a school in the traditional sense, but a community where people live and work.

The appeals court also rejected Wade's argument that the University of Michigan ban is unlawful because state law prohibits local units of government from regulating firearms. A university is not a local unit of government, the court said.

In a dissent, Judge David Sawyer said he agreed with Wade that the university is pre-empted from regulating firearms by the Michigan Legislature's regulation.

The court's ruling was released as the Michigan House of Representatives is expected to take up legislation that would allow the concealed carry of firearms in Michigan, without the need for a permit.

If passed, that bill would not change existing law which generally prohibits concealed carry in college or university housing or classroom.

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