Bill Would Make It Easier to Sue Over Gun Ordinances

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Image credit: Jake Neher/WDET

Critics say the bill is “about doing favors for the gun lobby and its lawyers.”

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Jake Neher/WDET
Jake Neher/WDET

A state House bill would make it easier for people to sue their local government to repeal a gun ordinance. 

State Rep. Gary Howell (R-North Branch) is the bill’s sponsor. He says there are at least 30 local governments in Michigan that have gun ordinances that are barred by the state’s firearm preemption law.

There are still instances around the state of Michigan where there are local communities that are adopting ordinances that infringe on firearms rights,” says Howell. 

He says residents of those communities should not have to wait to be charged to strike those ordinances from the books.

I’ve got to hire an attorney at my expense to defend myself in court to prove that I’m being charged under an invalid ordinance. It’s not fair to put that burden on a citizen, when they are simply exercising legal rights.”  

Howell’s bill would allow local residents or the state attorney general to challenge gun ordinances and be reimbursed for legal fees if they win.

Gun control advocates say the bill would allow more nuisance lawsuits by the gun lobby against reasonable firearm restrictions. 

Linda Danders is with the group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense. She says the bill would simply make it easier for gun rights advocates to sue local governments over ordinances they disagree with.  

This bill isn’t about enforcing the law,” says Danders. ”It’s about doing favors for the gun lobby and its lawyers. That’s just not right for Michiganders.”


Rick Pluta has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.

Follow @rickpluta

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