Amicus Brief

Czymbor’s Inc v City of Saginaw and Deborah Kimple, City Manager

Case Year: 2006
Case Forum: Michigan Supreme Court
Keywords: Home Rule City Act (HRCA), discharge of firearms, pre-emption, Hunting Area Control, Michigan's Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (NREPA)
Amicus Counsel:

Michael P. McGee | Jeffrey S. Aronoff | Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone, P.L.C. | 150 West Jefferson Suite 2500 | Detroit, MI 48226 | 313-963-6420


The Legislature did not pre-empt local ordinances prohibiting the discharge of firearms and other weapons simply by enacting the “Hunting Area Control” chapter of the NREPA, but rather established an optional protocol for local governments seeking to regulate firearms discharge, which was not intended to eliminate local governments’ well-established authority to regulate firearms discharge. Because the ordinances regulating the discharge of firearms and other weapons are police power ordinances relating to the health, safety, and general welfare of citizens within the City, they are separate and distinct from hunting regulations. The trial court and the Court of Appeals correctly ruled that the city of Saginaw ordinances, by regulating the discharge of firearms, are a proper exercise of the city’s police powers. No other matter of local government regulation has a greater connection to public safety as the discharge of weapons. Certainly, their regulation remains a matter of local police power, though such power is not absolute and must be exercised in a manner that comports with state law restrictions. In the instant case, the Legislature has simply provided cities with an alternative means of controlling firearms, which co-exists with cities’ legal authority to regulate the discharge of firearms.


The actions of the DNR throughout these proceedings have been, to say the least, contradictory. Initially, the DNR refused to issue hunting permits to Michael Czymbor solely because of the existence of defendants’ discharge ordinances. However, the DNR now claims that these same ordinances are invalid to the extent that they do not provide a hunting exception, because only the DNR may prohibit the discharge of weaponry in hunting areas under MCL 324.41901. Moreover, the department claims that areas need not be established under part 419, despite the clear language of MCL 324.41901, because its “exclusive authority to regulate the taking of game” under § 40113a(2) obviates the need to comply with the requirements of § 41901. Additionally, the DNR has failed to acknowledge the existence or effect of Rule 299.3048. Certainly, if the DNR no longer wishes to acquiesce to defendants’ antidischarge ordinance, it is free to take the necessary steps to amend its administrative rules to conform to the view it urges in its briefs. It may not, however, simply ignore the language of MCL 324.41901 or the requirements of the Administrative Procedures Act.
The judgment of the Court of Appeals granting summary disposition to defendants is affirmed, although for an alternative rationale.

MSC requested LDF amicus brief? No

Plaintiffs own a 56-acre parcel of property located in the city of Saginaw. Plaintiffs claim that the property has been used for hunting for many years. In 1999, defendant city of Saginaw enacted Saginaw Ordinances, title ix, § 130.03(D), which prohibits the discharge of firearms within the city. The ordinance contains four exceptions, but does not provide an exception for hunting. Subsequently, in 2002, defendant enacted Saginaw Ordinances, title ix, § 130.02, which prohibits the discharge of many types of projectiles, including arrows “by use of any bow…” This ordinance contains no exceptions.
In 2003, plaintiff Michael Czymbor sought a hunting permit from the DNR. However, according to plaintiffs’ affidavit, the DNR denied plaintiff a hunting permit because the DNR “understood that hunting was not allowed” on plaintiffs’ property as a result of defendants’ ordinances. The DNR further indicated to plaintiff that it would issue hunting permits in the future if the city ordinances are repealed and “hunting is restored to the property.” Plaintiffs filed an action for a declaratory judgment and a motion for a temporary restraining order, challenging the validity of the two ordinances because neither contained an exception for hunting. Plaintiffs claimed that the ordinances were invalid to the extent that they interfered with lawful hunting activity. Because the DNR was granted the authority to regulate or prohibit the discharge of hunting weapons under MCL 324.41901, plaintiffs argued that the statute preempted the ordinances.

Case Number: 2006-03
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