University of Michigan Defies State Campus Gun Laws

University of Michigan Defies State Campus Gun Laws

University of Michigan Defies State Campus Gun Laws

It doesn't matter if state law allows people to openly carry guns on the University of Michigan's campus, the university argued in a recent court filing, because only U-M's board can set U-M policy.

That's because, in U-M's view, the Michigan Constitution exempts U-M from having to pay attention to a state law banning local governmental units from making weapons laws.

U-M made the argument in a brief asking a state Court of Claims judge to toss out a lawsuit filed by Joshua Wade, an Ann Arbor resident who is seeking to open carry his gun on campus. He disagrees with the university's claim of sovereignty.

"The Michigan Constitution vests the power to legislate with the state legislature, not with the state universities..." Wade's attorney, Steven Dulan wrote in a court filing last week. "It is clear that the Board of Regents is powerful within the governance of the University itself, but it has no authority to attempt to usurp the legislature's constitutionally-delegated role in the state government."

U-M's weapons policy says no weapons can be carried on U-M campuses by anyone other than law enforcement or the military. It also offers exceptions for education purposes. The university’s policy also says the director of public safety can issue a waiver allowing someone to carry a weapon on campus “based on extraordinary circumstances.” The policy, Article X, was put in place 14 years ago.

Wade applied for such a waiver, his lawsuit states. It was denied by the university’s chief of police.

U-M argues in its court filing that a U.S. Supreme Court ruling also allows for schools to make rules banning weapons. However, Dulan claims in his counter-filing that is a wrong interpretation of that case and other cases.

U-M says Wade's argument that the weapons ban violates a state ban on local governmental units from setting their own weapons bans or rules is moot because University of Michigan and other universities are given special powers under the state's Constitution.

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