Michigan Judge Blocks New Ban On Open Carry At Polling Places

Joanna Estrada
October 29, 2020

Dana Nessel and Jocelyn Benson submitted their appeal on Wednesday, Oct. 28, with an expedited relief request for 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29.

Gun rights groups accused Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson of exceeding her authority in banning people from openly carrying guns within 100 feet of voting sites. On Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, a judge blocked a sudden ban on the open display of guns near MI polling places on Election Day. In the brief, they argued that the ban on open carry of firearms on November 3 was to protect every Michigander's right to vote.

However, Murray said in his opinion Tuesday that Benson's directive didn't follow the formal process laid out in state law about how new orders are enacted. On Tuesday, Michigan Court of Claims Chief Judge Christopher Murray granted a preliminary injunction, overturning the ban and allowing open carry at most polling locations. "I will continue to protect that right in MI, and we will be appealing this ruling".

"The main issue as the Court sees it is the allegation that the directive violates the [Administrative Procedures Act] because it is a rule that was not promulgated through the act's procedures", Murray wrote.

Earlier in the day, Assistant Attorney General Heather Meingast said lawmakers have given secretaries of state discretion to set certain election rules, including safety.

He noted that state law already prohibits openly carrying firearms in some locations used as polling places, such as churches, and added in italics: "Just as importantly, voter intimidation is already a crime". The directive aimed to create a uniform ban throughout MI for one day.

"To be clear: This case is not about the fragile state of mind of 21 voters, and what (Benson) envisions is the appropriate level of wokeness by voters", Dean Greenblatt, attorney for the group Michigan Open Carry, told the judge.

"Recent dramatic and widely publicized incidents involving firearms -including an alleged plot of armed militiamen to kidnap the Governor - have instilled fear in many MI citizens", reads the brief.

She said it will take time to tabulate and process every absentee ballot.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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