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.”
Individuals that are interested in joining FPC in the fight against tyranny can become a member of the FPC Grassroots Army for just $25 at JoinFPC.org.
Here is the brief in full. It's very compelling and not a good sign for the township. Opening Brief