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Court: University of Michigan can ban guns on campus

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — The University of Michigan can ban guns on its campuses, the state appeals court said, rejecting arguments that the school is stepping on turf controlled by the Legislature.

In a 2-1 decision, the court said a 2001 ban doesn’t violate the U.S. Constitution. The court also said the university isn’t covered by a state law that prevents local governments from putting limits on guns.

The university is a “state-level, not a lower level or inferior level, governmental entity. More specifically, it is a constitutional corporation of independent authority,” judges Mark Cavanagh and Deborah Servitto said.

All University of Michigan properties are gun-free for students, non-police staff and the general public, unless a waiver for “extraordinary circumstances” is granted by the public safety department.

Judge David Sawyer wrote a dissenting opinion, saying the university is exceeding its authority by adopting its own restrictions. The appeals court decision was dated Tuesday but released Wednesday.

At Michigan State University, staff and students can’t possess firearms. A visitor with a concealed weapon permit could carry a gun but not inside any campus buildings.

Gun possession on public property has received much attention in Michigan courts. In December, a different three-judge panel at the appeals court said public schools can ban guns carried by visitors. The court said schools are empowered to keep students safe and exist independently of local governments, which can’t regulate possession.

In another case, in 2013, the appeals court said a Lansing library couldn’t bar gun-toting patrons.

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