e-Journal Summary

e-Journal Number : 65345
Opinion Date : 06/06/2017
e-Journal Date : 06/08/2017
Court : Michigan Court of Appeals
Case Name : Wade v. University of MI
Practice Area(s) : School Law, Constitutional Law
Judge(s) : Cavanagh and Servitto; Dissent - Sawyer
Full Text Opinion

Whether a university ordinance prohibiting firearms on university property violates an individual’s right to bear arms; U.S. Const. amend. II; Const. 1963, art. 1, § 6; District of Columbia v. Heller; McDonald v. Chicago; Ezell v. Chicago (7th Cir.); People v. Wilder; People v. Deroche; Whether the ordinance is preempted by MCL 123.1102; Capital Area Dist. Library (CADL) v. Michigan Open Carry, Inc.; Michigan Gun Owners, Inc. v. Ann Arbor Pub. Sch.; “Local unit of government” defined; MCL 123.1101(b); Statutory construction; Haynes v. Neshewat; Koontz v. Ameritech Servs., Inc.; Authority of The Board of Regents of the University of Michigan; Const. 1963, art. 8, § 5; Regents of Univ. of MI v. Brooks; Federated Publ’ns, Inc. v. Michigan State Univ. Bd. of Trs.; Regents of Univ. of MI v. Auditor Gen.; Branum v. Regents of Univ. of MI; Regents of Univ. of MI v. Michigan Employment Relations Comm’n; WT Andrew Co. Inc. v. Mid-State Sur. Corp.


The court held that the Court of Claims did not err by granting summary disposition for the defendant-University of Michigan (University), or by dismissing the plaintiff’s complaint seeking declaratory and injunctive relief from its ordinance prohibiting firearms on any University property. Plaintiff sought a waiver of the prohibition, which was denied. He then filed his action, asking the Court of Claims to declare it unconstitutional and preempted by MCL 123.1102, and to enjoin defendant from its enforcement. The Court of Claims granted summary disposition for defendant. On appeal, the court rejected plaintiff’s argument that the Court of Claims erred when it ruled that the complete ban of firearms on University property did not violate his Second Amendment rights. “Given that at the historically relevant period, universities were understood to be schools and, further, that Heller recognized that schools were sensitive places to which Second Amendment protections did not extend,” the ordinance “does not burden conduct protected by the Second Amendment.” In other words, the ordinance “does not infringe on Second Amendment rights. No factual development could change this result.” The court also rejected plaintiff’s contention that the Court of Claims erred by concluding that MCL 123.1102 did not preempt the ordinance. “[T]he Legislature clearly limited the reach of MCL 123.1102 to firearm regulations enacted by cities, villages, townships, and counties. The University is not similarly situated to these entities; rather, it is a state-level, not a lower level or inferior level, governmental entity. More specifically, it is ‘a constitutional corporation of independent authority.’” Affirmed.

Full Text Opinion