Settlement Talks Underway In Lawsuit Over Proposed Gun Range
January 22, 2019
Talks over a possible settlement continue between a Hartland-based firearms store that is suing a local township.
The lawsuit was filed in November by Oakland Tactical Supply and three potential users of an outdoor shooting range proposed for 352 acres on Fleming Road in Howell Township. 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 argues 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…” One of the plaintiffs to the suit, Jason Raines of Howell, says that, “shooting sports is one of the few competitive activities” in which he can still engage following, “multiple surgeries due to back injuries…” and there are currently no feasible locations for long-range competitive shooting as traveling takes a toll on him physically.
In response to the lawsuit, Howell Township's attorneys argue the Second Amendment is not applicable as neither the township nor the State of Michigan requires training on a gun range to obtain or possess a firearm. They also note there are multiple shooting ranges in Michigan. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ website lists six gun ranges in Livingston County, although the maximum range is 200 yards. Oakland Tactical had proposed a 1,000 yard range for the Fleming Road property. The township’s attorney also argues the plaintiffs do not have legal standing to sue as they do not own the land where the shooting range would be located.
Court records indicate that settlement talks are ongoing between the parties, although a February 1st deadline has been set for a Discovery Plan, in which the parties will details the process by which they hope to obtain evidence to bolster their cases, including a request for documents and depositions. (JK)