Michigan Judge Blocks Ban On Open Carry Of Guns At Polling Places

A Michigan judge struck down a rule on Tuesday that banned the open carry of firearms at polling places on Election Day, siding with gun rights groups.

Judge Christopher Murray, who serves on the Michigan Court of Claims, issued a preliminary injunction against the rule, saying a directive issued by Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson did not follow proper procedure to be enforceable.

Benson had issued the directive earlier this month, instructing local clerks to bar the open carry of firearms on Election Day at or within 100 feet of polling places, clerks’ offices or absentee vote counting boards.

“The court’s duty is not to act as an overseer of the Department of State, nor is it to impose its view on the wisdom of openly carrying firearms at polling places or other election locations,” Murray wrote in his ruling. “More importantly, its constitutional role is properly limited to only declaring what the law is, not what it should be.”

State law already bans open carry at some locations that may serve as polling places, including churches. The new directive also doesn’t address concealed weapons.

Benson said in a statement to local news outlets that she plans to appeal the ruling, noting it was issued in an attempt to prevent voter intimidation.

“As the state’s chief election officer, I have a sworn duty to protect every voter and their right to cast their ballot free from intimidation and harassment,” Benson said in a statement to Michigan Live. “I will continue to protect that right in Michigan, and we will be appealing this ruling.”

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