Amicus Brief

Addison Township v Jerry Cline Barnhart

Case Year: 2012
Case Forum: Michigan Supreme Court
Keywords: sport shooting range, zoning, Sport Shooting Range Act (SSRA)
Amicus Counsel:

John H. Bauckham | Bauckman, Sparks, Lohrstorfer, Thall, & Seeber, P.C. | 458 West South Street | Kalamazoo, MI 49007-4621

CoAmicus Parties:

Michigan Municipal League Legal Defense Fund joined the Michigan Townships Association (MTA) brief


Defendant’s shooting range was used for both recreational and business purposes, such as testing firearms for companies and training sheriffs, and therefore it does not qualify as a “sport shooting range” under PA 250 of 1994. Under the Sport Shooting Range Act, by using the word “sport” in addition to “shooting range” in the title and text, the state legislature intended to protect sport shooting ranges from nuisance litigation, not all types of shooting ranges. Section 1 of the Act defines the “generally accepted operation practices” of a sport shooting range, which does not include training and testing activities. Also, the shooting range did not legally exist at the time the SSRA was enacted, since it was in violation of the agricultural zoning law, which did not allow a “shooting range.” Defendant’s range does not qualify as a “sport shooting range” under the SSRA, thus the SSRA does not protect the range from enforcement of local zoning controls or nuisance litigation. Therefore, the MSC should deny Defendant’s leave to appeal.


In determining whether a range is a sport shooting range under the SSRA, the focus is on the design and operation of the range, not on the intentions of individual shooters in using the
range; a range owner’s commercial purpose for operating the range is also irrelevant.
Judgment of the Court of Appeals in Barnhart I reversed; judgment of the Court of Appeals in Barnhart II vacated. Case remanded to the district court for entry of an order
dismissing the case.

MSC requested LDF amicus brief? Yes
Case Number: 2012-06
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