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PROTECT OUR SHOOTING RANGES
Petition in Support of the Plain Language Of The Sport Shooting Ranges Act (SSRA)
In 1989, Michigan’s Legislature recognized the growing need to protect existing sport shooting ranges from the expanding pressures that resulted from urban sprawl. Civil and criminal lawsuits were commonly filed against sport shooting ranges prior to the Act with the sole purpose of restricting their operations or closing them down completely.
The SSRA was designed to protect and exempt the existing shooting ranges from nuisance lawsuits and any changes to local ordinances that occurred after the 1994 amendment.
The plain language of the SSRA is clear – any person, defined as an “individual, proprietorship, partnership, corporation, club, governmental entity, or other legal entity,” who operates a pre-existing sport shooting range is exempt from nuisance lawsuits and local ordinances. The Michigan Court of Appeals nullified this definition when it issued its ruling in Township of Addison v. Jerry Cline Barnhart. In its ruling, the court re-defined “sport shooting ranges” as “recreational…to the exclusion of all other types of shooting ranges” and took recreational to mean there could be no range function that included “business or commercial purposes.” In effect, this holding rips the protections of the SSRA from any range that charges member fees, instructional and safety course fees, or any range that sells ammunition and equipment.
Commercial transactions are an everyday part of operating a shooting range. Ranges not only require fees for range upkeep but for revenue to pay the bills and keep the club or range open to its members and the public. If this court decision is upheld, it would ultimately nullify the very purpose of the SSRA, since it would only be applicable to the sparse few ranges that operate without business or commercial transactions – anunrealistic requirement.
Instead of following the plain language of the statute, the Court of Appeals instead opted to implement its own policy by re-defining the scope of the Sport Shooting Ranges Act.
We are proud shooting sports enthusiasts and supporters in the State of Michigan, and we are signing this petition to express our genuine frustration with the decision of the Michigan Court of Appeals to disregard the clear intent of the SSRA and instead re-define the act to make it virtually inapplicable to those it was intended to protect.
We support sport shooting ranges throughout Michigan, and we support the SSRA for its intended scope and purpose.
6540 signed up so far.