Amicus Brief

MI Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners v City of Ferndale and Karen Pedro, City Clerk

Case Year: 2002
Case Forum: Michigan Court of Appeals
Keywords: concealed weapons ordinance, pre-emption, Michigan Constitution, public property, Home Rule City Act (HRCA)
Amicus Counsel:

Gerald A. Fisher | Thomas R. Shultz | Secrest, Wardle, Lynch, Hampton, Truex and Morley | 30903 Northwestern Highway | Farmington Hills, MI 48333 | 248-851-9500


This is not a gun rights case. This case is about a municipality’s right to regulate conduct on property and in buildings that it owns and controls, consistent with longestablished
constitutional and statutory authority designed and historically interpreted to preclude just the kind of interference with local governmental affairs that the Coalition claim Michigan’s firearms laws represent. It is in some respects a preemption case, but it is more directly an inquiry into the respective
constitutional “standing” of the state and its local political subdivisions, and even more particularly into the former’s ability to ignore the direct constitutional authority of the latter–if that is indeed what the state Legislature intended to do when it passed the various firearms laws. The Ferndale City Council passed a law establishing that its public business, on
municipal property, will be conducted in its buildings without the fear–well-grounded or not–of other participants in the process being armed. A sound legal argument establishing the right of the City to enact an ordinance prohibiting guns in its public places is fairly easy to construct, and is set forth in
the City’s Brief on Appeal. Const. 1963, art. 7, §22, specifically provides that cities and villages “shall have the power to adopt resolutions and ordinances relating to its municipal
concerns and property.” That right is confirmed in the Home Rule City Act’ at MCl 117 Aj(3). Art. 7. §34 of our Constitution broadly provides that these constitutional and statutory provisions are to be “liberally construed in [the City’s] favor.”


At issue in this case is whether local units of government are precluded from enacting and enforcing ordinances that make local public buildings gun-free zones. We hold that MCL 123.1102 preempts local regulation of this kind, and contrary to defendants city of Ferndale and city clerk Karen Pedro’s argument, MCL 28.425c does not return to local units of government the authority to regulate in this area. Accordingly, we reverse the circuit court’s order granting summary disposition in favor of defendants, and upholding the validity of defendants’ ordinance prohibiting the possession or concealment of firearms in municipal buildings.

MSC requested LDF amicus brief? No

On November 12, 2001, pursuant to its general police power, the city of Ferndale enacted an ordinance which prohibited the possession or concealment of weapons in all buildings located in Ferndale that are owned and/or controlled bv the city. The ordinance contains certain exemptions, including those for law
enforcement officers, auxiliary and retired police officers. The specific buildings subject to the ordinance were identified in the ordinance. Plaintiffs, who included the Michigan Coalition
for Responsible Gun Owners (MCRGO) and three individuals, filed a complaint seeking injunctive and declaratory relief and alleging that the ordinance is unconstitutional under the Michigan Constitution and is preempted by state statutory law including MCL 28.421 et seq. and 123.1101 et seq. The city maintained that the ordinance was a valid exercise of the
city’s police power pursuant to the Michigan Constitution,
the Home Rule City Act and the Ferndale Charter.

Case Number: 2002-02
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