By Jon King /

Arguments have been scheduled by a federal appeals panel concerning a lawsuit filed against Howell Township by a Hartland-based firearms store.

The 6th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati has scheduled oral arguments for December 9th in the lawsuit which was filed in 2018 by Oakland Tactical Supply and three potential users of an outdoor shooting range proposed for 352 acres on Fleming Road.

The township’s board rejected the plan in November of 2017 citing their zoning ordinance, which does not allow for open-air businesses such as shooting ranges on agricultural residential land. The company argued that’s a violation of the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution which they say “secures the right to operate and practice with firearms at a range…”

But a federal judge rejected that claim as “implausible,” saying that essentially the plaintiffs were asking the township to, “…make a sweeping amendment to its zoning ordinance…which would have permitted shooting ranges in two-thirds of the township’s land.” In dismissing the lawsuit, Judge Friedman added that the “alleged ‘ban’ on shooting ranges is all the more implausible in light of the ordinance provisions that permit recreational facilities.”

Attorneys for Oakland Tactical have argued that the requirements of a special use permit needed for such a facility, in effect, prohibit its use as a shooting range.